Standard Intro

The following section will be at the top of all posts in the LW Women series.

Several months ago, I put out a call for anonymous submissions by the women on LW, with the idea that I would compile them into some kind of post.  There is a LOT of material, so I am breaking them down into more manageable-sized themed posts. 

Seven women submitted, totaling about 18 pages. 

Standard Disclaimer- Women have many different viewpoints, and just because I am acting as an intermediary to allow for anonymous communication does NOT mean that I agree with everything that will be posted in this series. (It would be rather impossible to, since there are some posts arguing opposite sides!)

To the submitters- If you would like to respond anonymously to a comment (for example if there is a comment questioning something in your post, and you want to clarify), you can PM your message and I will post it for you. If this happens a lot, I might create a LW_Women sockpuppet account for the submitters to share.

Please do NOT break anonymity, because it lowers the anonymity of the rest of the submitters.

[Note from daenerys- These two submissions might actually be one submission that had some sort of separation (such as a line of asteriks). If I processed them as separate when they were supposed to be a single entry, this is completely my mistake, and not at all the fault of the submitters. Sorry for the confusion.]

Submitter A

Here's a webpage with more on how misogyny works, including examples in the comments of "mansplaining" minimalizing problems.

Under the article, there's a comment about Stieg Larrson's book, originally named "Men who Hate Women."  To see what motivated such a name, I Googled and found this article about his experiences and guilt.  Guilt is something that many have felt and tried to assuage in various ways, including asking for forgiveness.  I've come to the conclusion that we should never forgive, only demand solutions, so as not to suffer continual sinning and forgiving.  With solutions comes absolution, so forgiveness is unnecessary but for allowing the guilty get away with crimes (like the rapists in the article).

The article about Larsson also has a bit about his partner's contributions not being credited to her, which seems to be typical of man-woman partnerships.  Besides seeing it in other stories, I've experienced it in my own life.  I gave my ex much input and feedback for his works, but others will never know.  Meanwhile, he trivialized and hindered my work.  He recently admitted to purposely discouraging me from going to college or doing well while I was there.  I suspected as much, like when he guilt-tripped me the morning I had to cram for an AP exam in high school, BSing that my not celebrating his birthday with him meant that I didn't love him.  This was when he was in grad school -- he knew what he was doing.  He wanted to keep me for himself, and often said so.  That thinking--a woman serving one men--was a justification for him to rape, physically assault, psychologically manipulate, and limit me (such as when or what I was allowed to write).  Similar thinking exists in other persons' head, including in some women who blame themselves if their partners beat them, cheat on them, etc.  But we can't happily serve one being; we absorb, process, and optimize much, much more than one being, who cannot be processed separate from the rest of the cosmos anyways.  Forcing or planning a body to serve just one body (even one's own body) will involve abuse.  

Due to how our bodies work, a person tends to not respect a partner who is focused on pleasing just that person.  Some poor souls are caught in a vicious cycle of doting on their partners, who in turn, don't love them much or disrespect them and eventually leave, giving imprecise, useless explanations like "the person isn't intellectual enough," as can be seen here.  "Someone who loves you" doesn't necessarily love You, but rather a narrow understanding of You.  In other words, you don't love a person you don't know.  

The men who abuse women and claim they love those women do not know those women, any more than my ex understood my work for the-world-as-I-know-it, which is quite different from the world-as-he-knows-it, a world where women are whores when, to me, many women are slaves to idiots who don't know what's good, like people who perceive rape as cool or fun.  My ex wrote a song called, "Son of Whore," basically saying his mother and other mothers are whores, and also called me a whore, though he was the one forcing sex on me.  On other occasions, he claimed I was the love of his life.  You might think my ex was a sociopath, but no -- he's a normal male, working as a university professor.  His thinking, like most humans', is outdated or out of touch with reality; his map misrepresents the territory.  So now he has to deal with losing the love of his life, whom he neither really knew nor loved.  Plus, he has to deal with my corrective writing to prevent him from harming another person.  In that way, I'm still self-sacrificing to make him and his work better.  How sub-optimal of me when I should be focusing on work helpful to more people.


Submitter B

[note from daenerys- I think I somehow lost the links in this one. Very sorry!]

“Note that with a lot of the above issues, one of the biggest problems in figuring out what is going on isn't purposeful misogyny or anything.”

Those LWers who define rationality as for “winning” can play self-serving games. I'd like to think there's no such thing as purposeful misogyny, but PUA literature (in addition to other things my body has absorbed in my life) has left no room for that naïveté. To be clear, by "misogyny" I don't mean “hatred of women,” which is a useless definition except for denying it exists. Some PUAs point out they "love" women, like some anti-gays point out they love gays and that's why they're trying to prevent gays from committing sins and thereby damning themselves and/or invoking God's wrath towards society. Similarly, PUAs and MRAs can believe themselves to be saving the world from irrational women. They have fallacious utility-maximization rationalizations, like someone I personally know who justified molestation of his biological daughter, with explanations from "she likes it" to [paraphrasing] “it’ll hasten the child's puberty changes and increase her bust size to make her more attractive to potential male mates.” Other family members, including the victim’s biological mother (abuser’s wife) and paternal grandmother accepted the abuser's rationalizations, and hence did not intervene. The molestation escalated into raping the child, which the family members excused. I’ve seen similar stories in the news, where a naïve consumer of such news might be at a loss for why persons close to the abuser didn’t intervene (e.g. Sandusky’s wife).

So, “misogyny,” to have a definition that points to real phenomena, can be said to be apologetics of abusing females, with messages (not just in natural language) or actions anywhere from seemingly benign and rational to full out demeaning or violent. And many females' brains accept and internalize such messages and actions, hence excusing the abusers, blaming the victims, forgiving abuses rather than taking actions to prevent them, or even letting themselves be abused (under some notion that the dynamics are unchangeable). In this news piece on a school spanking and in its comment field, you can see examples of people rationalizing hitting kids and/or letting themselves be hit, even though, as one commenter pointed out, we don’t use corporal punishment on prisoners.

My grandmother used to beat my younger brother to vent her frustrations with the world, including having to serve everyone while my grandfather stayed on the couch in front of the TV all day because he wouldn’t do “women’s work” and he was retired from “men’s work.” Her brain rationalized the beating as necessary for disciplining my brother, even though the only “disciplining” effects were to force my brother to finish eating what she served him. She has come to regret what she did, but I’m not sure she’s aware of the dynamics behind what happened, including the patriarchal inequity and her brain’s imprecise narrative about making my brother well-behaved.

In case you don’t have much history with abuse, perhaps the phenomena I’m discussing will be more concrete to you if you’ve had experiences dealing with men’s porn and meditate on those experiences. This article, “Being Porn,” refers to women internalizing and enacting men’s porn views, rather than trying to enlighten men so they make better use of resources and don’t become or stay addicted to porn. To be fair, though, it’s difficult to enlighten others if one is not good at brain-hacking herself. For example: On the HLN channel, there was a criminal investigations episode on an Evangelical Christian ex-military man who, addicted to porn, used varying excuses like ‘it’s research to save our sex life and marriage’ whenever she tried to get him to stop. Fed up, she asked for divorce, and instead of going through the pains of divorce, he murdered her and their daughter (age 6) in their sleep, put their bodies in the dumpster at his workplace and pretended they went missing. Cases like that illustrate how apologetics can get out of control (talk about affective death spirals), with a person operating on wrong confabulations upon wrong assumptions, while other not very enlightened persons (like the wife and the Evangelical church she tried to get help from) cannot effectively enlighten the outta control person.

Given that brains perform apologetics, how rational can we be in cultures based more on some men’s analyses than on others’ analyses, esp. when others’ analyses parrot so much of those men’s—in cultures like LW’s? There’s potential for your female narratives project to change LW’s stupid (read: “low-effort thought”) analyses, if the women don’t end up affirming what the men have already said. I’ve seen at least one LW woman use some men’s stupid analyses of creepiness as exclusion or dislike of low-status or unattractive persons. Such over-simplified analysis doesn’t account for what I know, which includes not being creeped out when an unattractive guy touches me in a platonic manner and being a little creeped out when an attractive college dormmate poked me on Facebook and then just stared at me for a long time at a social function—even my gay guy friend indentified that behavior as creepy. (The behavior could’ve been called “rapey eyes” if the guy wasn’t shy but rather objectifying me, like I’ve seen some men do. I give them back the evil eyes to remind them to do no evil, and they turn away in shame. I first learned of the evil-eyes’ effectiveness when I got angry at bullying of my brother when I was first grade.

The evil-eyes was just part of the indignation expression, and uses of it made bullies stop in their tracks. This reminds me of an angry-looking deity in some East Asian cultures, icons of which are customarily put in places of business. I used to wonder why, but now I see it may be to remind people to do no evil.) Back to the dormmate…I decided against getting involved with him, as I already had a bf and a lot of stressful things to deal with, and the dormmate (with his possible obsessive desire and my body’s possible compliance despite my better judgment) would complicate things.

My creepy/danger alert was much higher at a meeting with a high-status (read: supposedly utility-generating, which includes attractive in the sense of pleasing or exciting to look at, but mostly the utility is supposed to be from actions, like work or play) man who was supposed to be my boss for an internship. The way he talked about the previous intern, a female, the sleazy way he looked while reminiscing and then had to smoke a cigarette, while in a meeting with me, my father (an employer who was abusive), and the internship program director, plus the fact that when I was walking towards the meeting room, the employees of the company, all men, stared at me and remarked, “It’s a girl,” well, I became so creeped out that I didn’t want to go back. It was hard, as a less articulate 16 year-old, to explain to the internship director all that stuff without sounding irrational. But not being able to explain my brain’s priors (including abuses that it had previously been too naïve/ignorant to warn against and prevent) wasn’t going to change them or decrease the avoidance-inducing fear and anxiety. So after some awkward attempts to answer the internship director’s question of why I didn’t want to work there, I asked for a placement with a different company, which she couldn’t do, unfortunately.

Given all my data, I can say approximately that identification of creepiness is a brain making predictions about someone’s brain (could even be one’s own brain, being introspective about whether you’re being creepy) running on a stupid/unenlightened/unwise apologetic program that could possibly escalate into actions unpleasant or of low utility to the target and/or to him/her/one’s self (e.g. energy-wasting, abuse, heartbreak, etc.). This analysis is backed up by data from studies I link to in this comment.

Back to LWers’ analyses. Tony Robbins said on an episode of Oprah’s LifeClass that women tend to be too affirming, rather than challenging like men. While I’d like to think that’s not true, since my body’s tendency for as far back as I can remember has been to challenge wrong or unnecessary confabulations (I have to remind my body to be positively reinforcing of good actions), Robbins was talking about the same kind of phenomenon I’m writing about here, which in effect, amounts to women not doing more to move people to become less wrong. Unlike Robbins, though I’d say that this is in part due to women using men’s explanations, with men being less challenging than apologetic. I regularly have to counter BS from men in my life or online. The Chinese equivalent of “bullshit” translated into English is bull fart. Not that females don’t make info-poor, self-serving abstractions in public language.


New Comment
469 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:22 AM
Some comments are truncated due to high volume. (⌘F to expand all)Change truncation settings

To avoid the aforementioned failure mode of silent approval and loud dissent, let me say that I appreciate this post and this series. I'm trying to update my priors about how many women (in the rationalist cluster) have experienced outright horrific abuse of several sorts, and how many more have had to worry about it; it's obvious in retrospect that I wouldn't have been exposed to these kinds of stories as I was growing up even if they happened around me. That really bears on the question of what policies are best overall, though I'll have to think through all the implications.

I agree, but connotationally I also want to note that...

I wouldn't have been exposed to these kinds of stories as I was growing up even if they happened around me

...this part is completely gender-neutral.

Agreed with ortho, and I'd like to add that I appreciate the post and series even though I think many of the criticisms in the comments are legitimate. It is more important to understand a perspective than to agree with it. For me personally, the inferential distance is vast and I'm glad to have it close somewhat.
Me too. Have upvoted and downvoted many, many comments so far, but often had little to say.

I noticed that in many descriptions of violence against women, it is emphasised that given person is a normal male. I feel this requires deeper analysis than just saying "I agree" or "I disagree and I feel offended". Different people may translate these words completely differently, so let's think about which translations are correct and which are not.

To make this discussion shorter, let's ignore the part that also women can be violent, only let's only focus on what "normal male" means in this context. Here are a few possible translations. Actually, I just pick two extreme ones, and anyone is welcome to add other options (because I don't want to generate too many strawpersons).

  • A man can be abusive towards his wife/girlfriend/random girl even if he is not a psychopath, even if he is very nice and polite towards all his friends and strangers, if he is a good student, productive in his job, or a Nobel price winner. Towards a specific person in a specific relationship, his behavior may be completely different.

  • Deep in their hearts, all men desire to torture women. Some of them are just too afraid of legal consequences.

Let's say that I agree with the ... (read more)

A man can be abusive towards his wife/girlfriend/random girl even if he is not a psychopath, even if he is very nice and polite towards all his friends and strangers, if he is a good student, productive in his job, or a Nobel price winner. Towards a specific person in a specific relationship, his behavior may be completely different.

A variation:

  • Friends, strangers, and society in general normalize the abuse, spending cognitive effort finding ways to rationalize it. Possibly because he is a good student, etc., they try to fit him into the "good student box" instead of the "wife-beater box".

There's a halfway point between those extremes:

Many men do what is socially acceptable, and avoid what is social unacceptable. But their reading of what is socially acceptable allows them to do abusive things.

REGARDLESS of whether those men are reading the social norms correctly, there are effective interventions to (change / make more explicit) the norms those men are trying to follow. For example, the Don't Be that Guy campaign in Ottawa, Canada. Alas, I can't find any data that shows effectiveness. But if data showed actual incidence was not decreased by this type of campaign, that would count heavily against my current model of the world - keeping in mind that there are strong reasons to be unsure of the connection between reported incidents and actual incidents.

It is significantly more socially acceptable for a woman to hit a man than the reverse. It is more socially acceptable for a woman to sexually assault a man.

It's more socially acceptable for a woman to suggest a man should be castrated, emasculated (a word which refers to the wholesale removal of a man's genitals, incidentally, as opposed to castration, which refers only to removal of the testicles), anally raped, or than any analogous reversal.

These things happen regularly without comment or outrage in our society.

I'm curious to know what exactly your model of the world is.

This is true in my social circle, but I'm not at all confident that it is true in most. This is not true in my social circle. Again, not sure about others. Again speaking for my own social circle only: Things like this are generally said in jest. My guess is that it is more acceptable to joke about this because it is less of a serious problem than male-on-female assault/rape. But, I'm not convinced at all that this is typical.

Wedding Crashers. Yes Man. 40 Days and Nights (although in that case, there was a bit of popular backlash).

I'm not going to go through cases for the first thing you quoted.

But it's not limited to speech. If a woman hits me, most witnesses will assume I deserved it; I did or said something they didn't see. If I hit a woman - well. Men who have called 911 after being assaulted by their wives or girlfriends frequently find -themselves- locked up.

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker is an interesting example. He starts by explaining that he became fascinated by finding out how to predict threat levels because his mother was extremely violent. The rest of the book assumes that an aggressor will be male.

The Emotional Terrorist and the Violence-Prone by Erin Pizzey is her account of starting one of the first domestic violence shelters in the British Isles, and being surprised to find that a bit over half the women were habitually violent themselves. I've heard confirming information from at least one other source. This doesn't mean you should assume that any women who reports violence in her marriage is partly at fault-- note that the odds are close to even.

I think women who are domestically violent against men are a serious problem, and it's going to take a lot of men speaking up (something which is quite difficult, and not just because of feminists) to get any sort of a solution.

What on Earth makes you think that I find that dynamic acceptable? Non-consent is non-consent.

I didn't imply you find it acceptable. The question was, if you think social acceptability is predictive of behavior, do you expect to see more violence against men than women - that is, should you expect that violence by women against men is a larger social problem, given that it is more socially acceptable?

I see what you are asking. I think my most relevant response is that I don't think the word "more" in the quoted text is accurate. The Steubenville victim got death threats from people who knew her. Someone making the unacceptable comments you describe would generally be faced with awkward silence. Incidentally, I'm no fan of speech codes, but I suspect ridiculous overreactions to stupid speech happens with somewhat equal prevalence on both political extremes. One ridiculous overreaction is too many, of course.
By "more" I don't mean society approves of it more, but disapproves of it less, if the distinction makes a difference.
As I understood you, you meant "Society disapproves of female-on-male sexual violence. But society disapproves more strongly of male-on-female sexual violence." I just think you are factually wrong in that assertion, based on the differences in responses like the ones I noted.
Ah. I follow you now. And I find your comparison dishonest. First, you're trying the general case against a specific case, and using your assumptions for the first. Second, you're not comparing like cases; you're comparing what angry family members said following a rape trial to reactions to speech. Third, you're using an exceptional and unusual case.
The threats weren't from family members []. And the very debate we are having is whether Steubenville is exceptional and unusual for what happened to the victim or simply because it became world famous. General vs. specific is a reasonable point - but looking at headlines from news sources that we each already agree with is unlikely to help us resolve this issue. I could point to examples from the yesmeansyes blog, but obviously they filter the evidence to focus on what they find problematic. No doubt you could also point to mostly reputable news sources for examples that you find problematic.
Interesting that you accept that narrative as a full explanation, when the link it itself provides refers to one of the girls as a relative. Indeed, one of the death threats mentioned was: "You ripped my family apart, you made my cousin cry, so when I see you bitch it’s going to be a homicide" That sounds less like "...women often find it more personally beneficial to go along with sexism than to try to fight the power, on the theory that if you're going to be treated like a second-class citizen anyway, you might as well not get yelled at all the time for speaking up about it" and more like an immature teenager whose life was thrown into turmoil and is looking for somebody to lash out against. Let's talk Steubenville, but let's compare like to like. What do you think public perception would be of two teenage girls who played with the genitals of an unconscious drunk guy?
In the local community, if the two girls were co-captains of the softball team, and the town was softball-mad in the way Steubenville is apparently football-mad (American football)? I expect the locals in that hypothetical would react essentially like the locals in Steubenville - laughing at the victim, sharing humiliating pictures on social media, pressuring the victim not to complain. If the local reaction made national news, I expect criminal charges would be brought. Would the judge in the case warn the defendants "to have discussions about how you talk to your friends; how you record things on the social media so prevalent today; and how you conduct yourself when drinking is put upon you by your friends []"? Don't know. Your claim is that society is more tolerant of non-consensual violence on males, so your claims are false if society is merely equally tolerant. (And society is too tolerant of all physically harmful pressure to non-consensually or semi-consensually risk physical harm - consider the enormous social pressure on athletes to "man up" and play through injury). Regarding Slate magazine (the source I've been linking) - I was linking them only for the facts - I don't expect you to agree with their analysis, and I don't necessarily endorse the analysis in any particular. But the facts they report are facts.
It might be relevant that there's no enthusiasm for any female sport comparable to the enthusiasm for some male sports. This doesn't mean I think the enthusiasm for male sports is an unmitigated advantage for males.
Criminal charges would be limited to a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions within the US. I've referenced some studies here: [] Society is not equally tolerant. There are of course asshats no matter what, but you're using the existence of some intolerance on both sides as "proof" that the level of intolerance is equal.
Tangentially, it might be similar to public perception of this writer []. From the top-displayed comments: Also: Edit: It might be a poor example of a gender-symmetrical act, since one actually can "play with" male genitals non-sexually; I do it whenever I use the bathroom, and have it done whenever I have a medical chekcup.
Two comments don't exactly constitute public perception. Incidentally, some women also touch themselves when they use the restroom (incidence rate is who the fuck knows) for approximately the same reasons, and, uh, you've never heard complaints about speculums? Ford, Liwag-McLamb, and Foley, 1998 (among other studies, such as "What is a typical rape? Effects of victim and participant gender in female and male rape perception" by Irina Anderson in the British Journal of Social Psychology) suggest that people are less likely to label a given incident rape if the victim is a male, more likely to regard a male victim as complicit in or partially responsible for the rape, and more likely to regard male victims of rape negatively (the term used in the literature is generally "homophobic response"). Incidentally, as for the legal status of the two girls - it wouldn't be rape. It wouldn't even be sexual assault. It's generally classified as sexual battery, and is a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions.
No, you should not expect that. Social acceptability is only one variable. Other things are not equal.
OrphanWilde: [Factual, empirically-testable claim that:] For Set A: X > Y OrphanWilde: [Query:] (For Set A) Does X > Y imply f(X) > f(Y)? (got downvoted) Response: I don't find X acceptable. (Edit: Or perhaps: "I don't find (X > Y) acceptable.") (got upvoted) Someone is being misread and uncharitably misinterpreted here. Edit: Here's a translation of my pseudologic above: [Factual Claim] For some culture: Social acceptability of female-to-male violence ("X") > Social acceptability of male-to-female violence ("Y") [Query, perhaps rhetorical?] Does the social acceptability of gender-to-gender violence ("X" and "Y") correlate with the actual frequency of corresponding gender-to-gender violent actions ("f(X)" and "f(Y)")? [Implication] If so, we should expect that X > Y ==> f(X) > f(Y) ; that is, we should expect that there are more female-to-male acts of violence than the reverse, by this logic. [Response] I don't find the fact that (female-to-male violence is socially acceptable) acceptable. (Or perhaps that it's more acceptable than the reverse, but I doubt that would be the intended meaning. ) ( Anyone else notice that the response, while probably true and definitely admirable, does not engage in any way with the point? Anyone else notice that the one that points to a flaw in the earlier logic gets downvoted, while the other that responds with something barely related but applause-lighted gets upvoted? Anyone else notice that I got downvoted at first for attempting to point this out (the last two sentences)? )
I don't think my interpretation was uncharitable; I think TimS indicated that reducing social acceptance/increasing social stigma for male-on-female violence would result in less violence, and if this didn't work, his model would be challenged. (Or are you saying I was being uncharitably read? Having reread my comment; my point wasn't very explicit at all, and kind of begged for an uncharitable reading. So I don't hold the uncharitable reading against anybody.) (Incidentally, don't worry too much about the upvotes/downvotes in this post, they're not necessarily indicative of the reasonableness of your position. There are definitely people who have very firmly taken sides, and are upvoting/downvoting anything they perceive to be on or supportive of the opposing side. Environmental hazard of touchy social issues, not much you can do.)
There's a perfectly good (IMO) non-cultural reason for that, namely that the average man is physically bigger than the average woman and therefore he's more likely to seriously harm her by hitting her than the other way round. Wait... what? I hear men saying such things about women once in a while, but I can't recall any women saying such things about men (except when talking about convicted criminals, in which case even other men will suggest such things). But then again, I'd guess the situation is worse on the other side of the pond.

There's a perfectly good (IMO) non-cultural reason for that, namely that the average man is physically bigger than the average woman and therefore he's more likely to seriously harm her by hitting her than the other way round.

On the other hand, some women are bigger and/or stronger than some men. Size is hardly a hidden factor. Why not use that instead of a surrogate?

Indeed, if a small, weak man hit a big, strong woman, I wouldn't expect him to be frowned upon as much as the median men hitting the median woman.
The reason isn't terribly important for the purposes of this line of reasoning, so I'm going to largely leave this alone, and simply state that the iterated situation is considerably different than the one-shot situation. "Any analogous reversal" doesn't mean "men talking about men." It's not limited to the social acceptability of women as violence-initiators; it also includes the social acceptability of men as violence-receivers.
What is this "social acceptance" you speak of? Is it defined by some authority? How is it measured? I'm not trying to be snarky, I've just been listening to A Human's Guide to Words [] and this term doesn't feel well defined.

From the "How to Change Your Mind" sequence: Lonely dissent doesn't feel like going to school dressed in black. It feels like going to school wearing a clown suit. (In other words, "leaving the pack" vs. "joining the rebellion")

What is this "social acceptance" you speak of?

The first rule of human club is you don't explicitly discuss the rules of human club.

Is it defined by some authority?

There is no authority with the power to define, despite the best efforts of Dear Abby and others.

How is it measured?

With great difficulty and much controversy.

In terms of HGW, the concept is too complex for an intrinsic definition, but there is this thing that exists in the social dynamic that can be pointed out and named as "social acceptance". Call it SA(behaviour). ~SA(b) predicts Ostracized(Perpetrator(b)) and related phenomenon with higher probability than SA(b), which in turn predicts Encouraged(Perpetrator(b)).
It may also be that the speaker is themselves uncertain. That is, I might have convincing and emotionally salient evidence of the former and less-convincing but still emotionally salient evidence of the latter, and therefore have high confidence in the former and lower confidence in the latter (and similarly low confidence in the negation of the latter). In that case, communicating more clearly won't necessarily help you be sure which version I have in my mind... I have them both in my mind, to varying degrees. Why is this a particularly important ambiguity for people speaking to you to make explicit, compared to the thousands of other ambiguities inherent in the use of natural language?

Why is this a particularly important ambiguity for people speaking to you to make explicit, compared to the thousands of other ambiguities inherent in the use of natural language?

There are thousands of ambiguities in natural language, but most of them don't have a connotation that I am a criminal in disguise. If it becomes accepted uncritically, some day it could have negative consequences for me.

How would e.g. a black person feel about a habit of inserting sentences like "this criminal was a normal black person" whenever a crime done by a black person is dicussed?

But also women have a selfish reason to care. Imagine that as a heterosexual woman you want to have a partner, and you want to minimize the risk of being abused. Changing the society and the legal system helps, but that is a very slow process. You also want to reduce the chance that you specifically will choose an abusive partner. So here is a specific man, and he looks attractive.. how can you estimate the probability of future abuse? Is there any evidence available?

Believing that "all men are abusers (when given a chance)" suggests that no evidence exists; there are no red flags you could detect t... (read more)

True enough. Another thing I can do if I want to reduce the uncritical acceptance of the second version is to consistently use the first version myself, including when I interpret others (principle of charity, as you suggested), and make this explicit when it seems appropriate. The set of situations in which I consider modeling my preferred use of language appropriate is much greater than the set of situations in which I consider it appropriate or useful to insist that other people change their language use to conform to it. But on reflection, I'm not sure where that judgment of appropriateness comes from or whether I endorse it. That aside, I certainly agree that "all men are abusers (when given a chance)" is false for any interpretation of "abuser" and "chance" that doesn't also make "all humans are abusers (when given a chance)" equally true.
Sure, you want to avoid ahead of time getting involved with an abuser. But virtually all abuse stories I hear involve the woman ignoring early red flags, ignoring early pre- or mildly abusive behavior. So a tremendous amount of abuse could be avoided without needing to predict the future. STOP relationships with people who are starting to abuse you, starting down that path. I am not saying this to justify the abuser or abusive behavior. Rather to point out that in the puzzle of understanding abuse, understanding the abused's staying in the relationship is part of that puzzle.

understanding the abused's staying in the relationship is part of that puzzle

Could believing that "all men are abusers" contribute to staying with the one specific abuser? Such model provides only the choice between an abusive man or no man... where a different model would also provide an option of finding a non-abusive man.

(A data point about a slightly different situation: I knew a woman who believed that all men are alcoholics; the only difference is that some are honest about it and get drunk in public, the remaining ones are in denial and get drunk at home; and from these only two options, the former ones are more honest and more social. No surprise that all her partners were alcoholics. She complained about that, but instead about her bad choices, she complained about the bad male nature. Attempts by other women to convince her otherwise only led to responses like: "You are so naive to believe that. Just wait until you know your darling better and you will find out that he is an alcoholic too.")

Could believing that "all men are abusers" contribute to staying with the one specific abuser?

Sorta, yes, no. Cart before the horse. I think some women who stay with abusers may rationalize it by believing that all men are abusers. Mostly rationality is used for "understanding" what is happening, not generally to prompt fundamental changes. When I was drinking I had a very warped idea of how much other people drank, I thought I was drinking a little more than them. When I stopped drinking, and especially when I stopped feeling driven to drink, I realized that a tremendous fraction of my world was barely drinking at all, and that even among drinkers, most of them were sober enough to read the bill at the end of the night (which I generally wasn't on Fridays).

The evidence about other people's drinking was always there, I discounted gigantically its difference from what I was doing. In most of modern life, the evidence for other men treating other women differently is there, the question is why would one woman in an almost identical information rich environment as another women never give a guy who once raises his voice at her a second chance, while another stays through multiple mate-induced hospital visits?

I'd start by looking at the conditions the two women grew up in. For what it's worth, I've heard that there aren't really good predictors of who will end up in an abusive relationship, but people from healthy backgrounds get out faster. Unfortunately, I don't have a source.
Related TED talk: Leslie Morgan Steiner: Why Domestic Violence Victims Don't Leave []
I would hazard that many red flags--"obvious indicators of danger" are much more clearly seen in hindsight or out of context--these red flags might not have been quite so obvious to these women in abusive relationships. Using words like "ignoring" implies active agency on their part. This type of statement strikes me as being a very likely reason "normal male" was used as a descriptor. If she allowed herself to be put on the stand for "failing" to see the warning signs, then, in a potential critic's mind, she might be implicitly bearing partial blame, and thus her message might be safely ignored (not that I agree with that--I'm merely stating that this is a common attitude that could easily be expected. "She didn't get out so she's partly to blame for being abused.") To avoid this, she hastened to point out that there was no way in which he did differentiate himself from other men, no "red flags" she'd missed. More simply, a strong aversion to a common trend of blaming the victim and a desire to skip past that part of the critique. I am making no statements about you in particular--merely that that's an easy interpretation of your comment.
I'm guessing the thing you would hazard is a guess? You would hazard a guess? Personally, I am going by experience. The two women I know who were abused were abused REPEATEDLY before they left the abusive relationship. Now I don't know what your relationships are like but I have never "accidentally" hit or even shoved a woman I was in a relationship with. But these women I know who were in abusive relationships overlooked being hit. They overlooked being hit again. I couldn't tell you how many times they overlooked being hit, I have the impression it was a fair number, before the abuse that finally rose to the level of scaring the shit out of them, that made them realize they were risking their lives, happened, and they finally left the relationships. So I am not hazarding a guess. I may be generalizing from a small data set, but it is not a guess. Of the two women who have been abused that I personally know, 100% of them overlooked at least two instances of violence against them by their significant other before finally leaving. And both of them were pretty frightened for their lives before they finally left, rather deliberately overlooking mere bruising and hitting.
I guess that in certain situations it can be hard to rebuff someone who's maintained plausible deniability without feeling like an asshole. “I hear Russian borscht is the best. Have you ever had any? []” “You must be a commie! Go away!” EDIT: Or, for a less ridiculous example, see the paragraph starting with “Last of all” in the first post of that series [].
This suggests that any woman is pretty much like any other woman, and it is the differing circumstance of the relationship that makes it hard for some women to leave abusive relationships. I think it is extraordinarily more likely that some women get stuck in abusive relationships that other women would be out of there probably before abuse even started, let alone hanging around for the 3rd trip to the hospital.
That's not what I meant; I meant that I suspect that in certain cases leaving a relationship is psychologically harder than it may look from the outside, especially if the abuse was turned up slowly boiling frog []-style. I didn't mean to say anything about the variances of distributions.
"This is the worst kind of discrimination. The kind against me!"
Because anybody speaking out against discrimination against themselves is automatically demanding it take the top priority, and men should just shut up and put up until it's their turn.
On the off chance that you're speaking personally rather than hypothetically (I hope not)... What??? FWIW, I am a man and, while I can't see arbitrarily deep into my heart, I have no desire to torture women (or anyone else, actually) so far as I can see, and I seldom think about possible legal consequences of my actions. Now I might be lying about that (so you have to take my word for it), or maybe I do have such a desire but it's so deep in my heart that I can't see it (but how would you make that belief pay rent []?), but still... I'd find it appalling that anyone would give a non-negligible probability that “Deep in their hearts, all men [emphasis as in the original] desire to torture women”, for any value of deep that wouldn't make that statement useless-whether-true-or-false. (BTW, Gandhi was also a man, wasn't he?)
Gandhi might not be the best example of non-misogyny [].
Your hope has been realized! Hooray! That said, I also recommend that if you are going to spend very much time around women who have been severely traumatized by their experiences with abusive men, you prepare yourself to be appalled.
Who, and how do you know? What rough probability would you assign to a random feminist woman thinking this? What about a feminist woman on LW? ETA: Let's assume submitter A has at least average intelligence (usually a reasonable claim on LW). Then she must know that LW has many more men than women. She likely also knows that this series exists in part to give those men potentially new information. Suppose she believes version #2. Then she thinks most of her audience would torture women if they knew they could get away with it. If, like many feminists, she believes rapists have a low conviction rate, she must think the fraction of men committing rape far exceeds the observed figure - or that it would if we knew the truth. (Note by the way that the 6% figure appears in feminist sources.) Why would she tell us any of this? If she thinks we already know, why doesn't she denounce the whole series as a sham? If she thinks we don't know, did she mean to encourage us in our supposed dream of raping and hurting women while holding a respectable job? What, other than anti-feminist tribalism or the assumption of bad faith, could make #2 seem like a reasonable interpretation of the text? If you thought it was almost certainly wrong, but wanted more clarity in the future, you failed to make that clear.
I agree with the reasoning in the last paragraph. So just to answer your question: see the Swedish documentary "The Gender War []": [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []
I also have objections due to the ambiguity of that word (and its antonym []) in a different dimension: is that supposed to mean ‘typical’ or ‘functional’? I think that most people would agree that it's common for men to be abusive, but wouldn't agree that it's desirable for men to be abusive. (In this particular post, it clearly means the former, but it's so common for that word to be used to sneak in connotations [] in order to induce the reader to commit the naturalistic fallacy [] that I'd rather less ambiguous words were used instead even in these cases.)
My best take on what "normal" means in that sentence is "not obviously weird or dangerous, and not an especially rare type". However, it's ambiguous-- it could mean "a very high proportion of men who appear normal are that abusive". I don't think the poster has a clear idea of what sociopath means, since one of the things many of them are good at is passing for normal.

An older woman is abusing her position of authority to violently take out her frustrations on a young male she has authority over - and that's patriarchy? Really? Reverse the situation, and that might be "patriarchy." Or it could just be a messed up person. The position the author takes in that post trivializes women; they can't help it, they're not responsible for their actions, because Patriarchy. Well, "misogyny" is right. It just applies to the person writing that post.

And the porn comment, as well. Men need to be fixed, because their sexuality isn't desirable or acceptable.

And I'm sure I'm "mansplaining," a sexist term which boils down to trivializing male perspective. Regardless of whatever bad things it has been used to describe, I've seen it far more often used to attack reasonable discourse. When you're discussing things rationally you can say exactly what is wrong with a statement; you don't need terms like "mansplaining."

Also, a minor comment in regards to Author A - please don't trivialize women who do prefer the contributing, doting role. They aren't doing it wrong, they're doing it different, and they experience no sma... (read more)

Or, to put it another way - read this post with the genders reversed and few would hesitate to call the result misogynistic. This is my personal yardstick for discussing gender issues; swap the genders and see how it reads.

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." (The Red Lily; Anatole France)

Which is to say, insisting on treating two people identically when they are embedded in a system of inequality sometimes leads us to absurd conclusions.

You don't get a pass on your own biases merely because you oppose somebody else's. You especially don't get a pass on your own biases when you're using them as the basis to assert somebody else's.

Sure, I agree with all of that.
To be absolutely clear here - you're saying actual, overt sexism is acceptable, as long as it's women doing it to men? Well, that's pretty damn sexist, so I guess you're consistent, at least. Or ... maybe not, because your username implies you're male, and Wilde was accusing the OP of misogyny as well as misandry.

To be absolutely clear here - you're saying actual, overt sexism is acceptable, as long as it's women doing it to men?

I'm not sure if I'm saying that, since I'm never quite sure what people mean by "sexism", let alone "actual, overt sexism".

But I am saying that in a system that differentially benefits group X over group Y, I consider it much more acceptable for an individual to treat X and Y differently in a way that differentially benefits Y than in a way that further differentially benefits X. If that's actual, overt sexism in case where (X,Y)=(men, women), then yes, I'm saying actual, overt sexism is sometimes acceptable as long as it's being done to men. (The gender of the person doing it is irrelevant.)

If that's itself pretty damn sexist, I'm OK with that. My purpose here is not to avoid nasty sounding labels, but to reduce the (net) differential in distribution of social benefits (among other purposes). So if I have a choice between "being sexist" while reducing that differential and "not being sexist" while increasing it (all else being equal), I choose to reduce that differential. Labels don't matter as much as the properties of t... (read more)

Well alright, as long as you're consistent ;)

Personally, I would say most "sexism" is less taking from Y and giving to X and more just harming Y, which benefits X only through weaker competition. I suppose if you view the battle of the sexes to be a zero-sum game, that yardstick doesn't make much sense. However, if you thing misogyny and misandry hurt everyone, it does. Looks like there was an inarticulated assumption in OrphanWilde's post, I guess.

I don't necessarily think the distribution of social benefits is a zero sum game; in fact, I find that unlikely. However, it's also irrelevant to my point. I can value equalizing the net playing field for X and Y whether that playing field is on average rising, on average lowering, or on average staying the same. My point is simply that if I value equalizing the net playing field between X and Y, I should endorse reducing the (net) differential in distribution of social benefits between X and Y. One of the many benefits a society can provide its members is protection from harm. So differentially harming Y is one of many ways that a (net) differential in distribution of social benefits to X and Y can manifest. And, again, if we want to label reducing the (net) differential in distribution of social benefits between men and women, with the goal of ultimately altering our society so that it provides women and men with the same level of benefits, "sexism", I won't argue with that labeling, but I also won't care very much about avoiding things labeled that way.
Unless I've misunderstood the term, what you describe is, in fact, a zero-sum game. If I had persuaded you by changing the label, I'd be pretty ashamed of myself for using Dark Arts in a LW discussion.
One of us is misunderstanding the term, then. It might be me. We might do best to not use the term, given that.
Taboo time! "A situation where harming one side is equivalent to helping the other - perhaps because the first to pull ahead by a certain number of points wins, or because they both derive utility from the disutility of the other side."
Thank you for clarifying. OK, soo you're claiming that when I say that one of the many benefits a society can provide its members is protection from harm, so differentially harming Y is one of many ways that a (net) differential in distribution of social benefits to X and Y can manifest, I'm implicitly asserting that harming Y is equivalent to helping X? If I understood that, then no, I think this is simply false. For example, suppose there are dangerous insects about and I have a supply of insect-repellent, which I choose to give only to group X. This is a differential distribution of social benefits (specifically, insect repellent) to X and Y, and sure enough, Y is differentially harmed by the insects as a manifestation of that differential distribution of insect repellent. But it doesn't follow that harming group Y is equivalent to helping group X... it might well be that if I gave everyone insect repellent, both X and Y would be better off.
But if you're trying to optimize the net inequality ... surely that means that you'll treat harming the better-off one as equivalent to aiding the worse-off one?

Ah! I understand what you're saying, now. Thanks for clarifying further.

Yes, you're right, if the only thing I wanted to do was reduce the net inequality, I could achieve my goals most readily by harming X until it was just as bad off as Y (which would be a negative-sum game), and that would be equivalent to benefiting Y. Or I could use some combination of benefit-to-Y and harm-to-X.

And no, reducing the net inequality is not the only thing I want to do, for precisely this reason.

But it is a thing I want to do. And as a consequence, I don't treat actions that benefit Y the same way as actions that improve X's situation, and I don't treat actions that harm Y the same way as actions that harm X.

I admire your consistency and refusal to be evasive about unfortunate implications. Upvoted. This is where conversations about social justice should have began.
Yeah, agreed about where the conversation should start. I have struggled for years about what I want to say about maximizing net aggregated benefits vs minimizing net inequality in cases where tradeoffs are necessary. I am not really happy with any of my answers. In practice, I think there's a lot of low-hanging fruit where reducing inequality increases net aggregated benefits, so I don't consider it a critical question right this minute, but it's likely to be at some point.
There are even more actions [] that will increase both net aggregate benefits and inequality.
(nods) That's true.
My provisional solution for this: I want to maximize net aggregated benefits. I don't want to minimize net inequality per se, but a useful heuristic is that if X is worse off than Y, then you can probably get more net aggregated benefits per unit resources by helping X (or refraining from harming X) than by helping Y (or refraining for harming Y).
Yeah, I've considered this. It doesn't work for me, because I do seem to want to minimize inequality (in addition to maximizing benefit), and simply ignoring one of my wants is unsatisfying. That said, I'm not exactly sure why I want to minimize inequality. I'm pretty sure I don't just value equality for its own sake, for example, though some people claim they do. One answer that often seems plausible to me is because I am aware that inequalities create an environment that facilitates various kinds of abuse, and what I actually want is to minimize those abuses; a system of inequality among agents who can be relied upon not to abuse one another would be all right with me. Another answer that often seems plausible to me is because I want everyone to like me, and I'm convinced that inequalities foster resentment. Other answers pop up from time to time. (And of course there's always the potential confusion between wanting X and wanting to signal membership in a class characterized by wanting X.)
Crocker's Rules I get the sense that you think I disagree with TheOtherDave's statement above, particularly: If you are willing, can you identify what I say that makes you think that. For example, if you think I've been mindkilled or such, feel free to tell me so.
The "consistency and refusal to be evasive about unfortunate implications", if you're taking that as a jibe, wasn't directed at you (or anybody here on Less Wrong, for that matter), but rather the Dark Arts that currently constitute the majority of social justice conversations. To be honest, I'm uncertain whether or not the line of conversation here parallels the line of conversation you and I were having (although it's possible I've lost track of another line of conversation - searched, couldn't find one). Our conversation drifted considerably in purpose, my apologies for that. I was attempting to ascertain whether your belief was that social disapproval could correct a natural violent tendency in males, or whether your belief was that social approval/lack of social disapproval was creating a violent tendency in males. Probably would have been simpler to ask, in retrospect; my debate skills were largely honed with people who don't know what they believe, and asking such questions tends to commit them to the answers. My apologies.
No problem. To answer your question, I suspect that social approval / lack of social disapproval creates most tendencies. At least on the margins.
Ah, right. So you consider anti-X-ism better than anti-Y-ism, but both are worse than having neither?
If the only expected effects of anti-X-ism and anti-Y-ism are harm to X and harm to Y (respectively), yes, that's correct.
But you expect some secondary sociological/reputational benefit, at least in this case?
Expect? No. Just acknowledging that anti-X-ism doesn't necessarily harm X, nor does it necessarily only harm X. But sure, it happens. The phrase "get off my side!" is often used in these cases.For example, the Westboro Baptist Church folks have probably done more good than harm for queers (net, aggregated over agents), despite being (I think) anti-queer.
By the same token, anti-Y-ism doesn't necessarily harm Y? Well, sure. That's true of everything. But is it especially true of misandry? You're response to one of those cases is what started this discussion.
Yup. Beats me. I certainly didn't mean to imply that it was. You went from my statement about acts that cause harm to X and Y to a superficially similar statement about 'isms' []. My point here is that going from endorsing FOO to endorsing 'FOOism' is not necessarily a truth-preserving operation for any 'ism', since 'isms' tend to carry additional baggage with them. With respect to terms like 'misandry,' 'misogyny,' 'misanthropy,' 'feminism,' 'masculism', 'sexism', etc. I find it is almost always preferable to discard the term and instead talk about things like reducing harm to women, reducing harm to men, increasing benefits to women, increasing benefits to men, reducing net differentials between benefits to women and men, and similar concepts. Yes. And?
Ah. I was still responding to the comment where you said comparing misogyny to misandry was like comparing a rich man and a poor man stealing bread and sleeping on the streets. Just noting.
And you were responding to that by asking me whether it's especially true of misandry that it doesn't necessarily just harm men? You've kind of lost me again. If you can clarify the relationship between my comparison and your question -- or perhaps back up a step further and clarify your objection to my comparison, which I infer you object to but am not exactly sure on what grounds (other than perhaps that it's sexist, but I'm not quite sure how to interpret that label in this context), that might help resolve some confusions.
OK, if misandry (or other anti-X-ism) isn't especially likely to have good side effects, compared to misogyny (anti-Y-ism), why is objecting to it on the same grounds as misogyny mistaken?
I feel like I'm repeating myself, which indicates that I haven't been at all clear. So let me back up and express myself more precisely this time. I'm going to temporarily divide misandry into two components: MA1 (those things which harm men) and MA2 (everything else). I will assume for the moment that MA1 is non-empty. (MA2 might be empty or non-empty, that's irrelevant to my point.) I equivalently divide misogyny into MG1, which harms women, and MG2, which doesn't. As I've said elsewhere, I mostly care about MA1 and MG1, and not about MA2 and MG2. As I've also said elsewhere, I have two relevant values here: V1: to maximize net benefit V2: to minimize inequality. So an (oversimplified subset of an) expected-value calculation for MA1 and MG1 might look like: EV(MA1) = BMA*WV1 + EMA*WV2 EV(MG1) = BMG*WV1 + EMG*WV2 ...where: EV(x) is the expected value of x; BMA/BMG is the expected change in net benefit due to MA1 and MG1 (respectively); EMA/EMG is the expected change in net equality due to MA1 and MG1 (respectively); WV1/WV2 is the weight of V1 and V2 (respectively) (For convenience, I've defined everything such that more positive is better.) I object to MA1 on the grounds that I expect EV(MA1) to be negative. I expect this for two reasons: first, because BMA is negative -- that is, MA1 results in less net benefit. second, because even though EMA is positive -- that is, MA1 results in less inequality -- I expect that (BMA*WV1) > (EMA*WV2). I object to MG1 on the grounds that I expect EV(MG2) to be negative. I expect this for two reasons: first, because BMG is negative -- that is, MG1 results in less net benefit. second, because EMG is negative -- that is, MG1 results in more inequality. So, rolling all of that tediously precise notation back into English, I could say that I object to misandry on the grounds that it causes harm, despite reducing inequality, and I object to misogyny on the grounds that it causes harm and increases inequality. On consideration,
Hang on a second, I've just noticed something. Misandry is present in different situations to misogyny, and increases inequality in those situations. The question is whether inequality is a separate Bad Thing, as you've modeled it - in which case EMA is negative - or equal to the total harm done to men minus the total harm done to women - in which case it's positive, I guess. I tend to assume that, say, men being unable to do X utility-increasing thing when women can increases inequality, in the same way as women being unable to do Y utility-increasing thing when men can, whereas both men and women being unable to do X utility-increasing thing reduces inequality, even as it reduces utility (obviously.) Maybe this is the source of the confusion/disagreement?
Yes, I agree that whether inequality is a separate Bad Thing is an important part of the question. As I said initially, if someone doesn't value equality, then that person would object to misandry and misogyny on the same grounds (within the very narrow subset of the current discussion), and they would not be mistaken to do so, merely value different things than I do. That seems unlikely to me, for basically the same reason that it seems unlikely that wealthy people being unable to do X wealth-increasing thing when poor people can increases wealth inequality. But sure, if you assume this, you'd reach different conclusions than I do. For example, there are several folks on this site who seem to argue that there is no gender-based social inequality in our culture, or that if there is it benefits women; if I were to believe either of those things, I would reach different conclusions. (In the latter case I would oppose misandry more strongly than misogyny, since misogyny would tend to reduce inequality while misandry increased it, while having equal effects on harm. In the former case I would oppose them equally, since they had equal effects on inequality and harm.)
Even if you value equity separately from total utility, it is still the case that, contingent on any given level of equity, you should maximize total utility. While this would still involve some kind of utility transfer between agents, compared to the maximum in total utility - and, for the sake of this example, this could be considered either "misandry" or "misogyny" - it's not clear that what we now know as misandry or misogyny would be preserved.
Not sure where this came from. MugaSofer gave two choices, neither of which had anything to do with total utility as I understood it. One choice was "inequality is a separate Bad Thing," the other was that "it" (I assume inequality) was "equal to the total harm done to men minus the total harm done to women". I agreed with the former. (I might also agree with the latter; it depends on how we understand "harm".) In any case, I don't value equality separate from total utility. I do value it separate from total harm, which I also (negatively) value, and both values factor into my calculations of total utility. As do various other things. Sure. Further, I'd agree that I should maximize total utility independent of equality, with the understanding that how we calculate utility and how we total utilities is not obvious. The rest of your comment is harder for me to make sense of, but if I've understood you correctly, you're saying that if we maximize net aggregate utility for all humans -- whatever that turns out to involve -- it's likely that when we're done some group(s) might end up worse off than they'd have ended up if we'd instead maximized that group's net aggregate utility. Yes? Sure, I agree with that completely. Sure, that's true.
In that case, you can replace "maximize total utility" with "minimize total harm" and the gist of my comment is unchanged (under mild assumptions, such as that increasing harm never yields an increase in utility). Not just worse off than maximizing that group's aggregate U, or minimizing its aggregate harm (which is obvious), but also worse off than if we took equity into account and traded one group's aggregate U against the given group's. This assumes a framework where inequality can be conflated with the difference in total harm done to each group (or with the difference in aggregate utility, again under plausible assumptions). But, on the other hand, the assumption that "inequality is a separate Bad Thing" in the sense that instances of misandry create something called "inequality", and instances of misogyny create inequality, and the two instances of inequality add up instead of canceling out, seems redundant. It's just saying that "inequality" is a kind of harm, so there's no reason to have it as a separate concept.
I agree that with a sufficiently robust shared understanding of harm, there's no reason to call out other related concepts separately. That said, it's not been my experience that the English word "harm" conveys anything like such an understanding in ordinary conversation, so sometimes using other words is helpful for communication.
Well, that rather depends on whether we define "wealth inequality" as "inequality caused by the wealth distribution" or "inequality in the wealth distribution". If the world was divided into two different castes, rich and poor, each of whom could only do half the utility-increasing things, it seems to me that they would be unequal because if a poor person wanted to do a rich-person thing, they couldn't. If you would consider them equal (a similar world could be divided by race or gender) then I guess the term in your utility function you call "equality" is different to mine, even though they have the same labels. Odd, but there you go.
If the "utility-increasing things" the rich and poor groups were capable of doing were equally utility-increasing, yeah, I'd probably say that we'd achieved equality between rich and poor. If you would further require that they be able to do the same things before making that claim, then yes, we're using the term "equality" differently. Sorry for the confusion; I'll try to avoid the term in our discussion moving forward.
Huh. Well, I guess we've identified the mismatch. Tapping out, unless you want to argue for Dave!equality.
Sure, why not? Rawls has done most of the work here, since this is basically the Rawlsian "veil of ignorance" test for a society -- if the system is set up so that I'm genuinely, rationally indifferent between being born into one group and the other, the two groups can be considered equal. This seems like a pretty good test to me. If we have a big pile of stuff to divide between us, and we can divide it into two piles such that both of us are genuinely indifferent about which one we end up with, it seems natural to say we value the two piles equally... in other words, that they are equal in value. Granted, I'm really not sure how to argue for caring only about value differences, if that's a sticking point, other than to stare incredulously and say "well what else would you care about and why?" So, getting back to your hypothetical... if replacing one set of things-that-I-can-do (S1) with a different set of things-that-I-can-do (S2) doesn't constitute a utility loss, then I don't care about the substitution. Why should I? I'm just as well-off along all measurable dimensions of value as I was before. Similarly, if group 1 has S1 and group 2 has S2, and there's no utility difference, I don't care which group I'm assigned to. Again, why should I? I'm just as well-off along all measurable dimensions of value either way. On what grounds would I pick one over the other? So if, as you posited, rich people had S1 and poor people had S2, then I wouldn't care whether I was rich or poor. That's clearly not the way the real world is set up, which is precisely why I'm comfortable saying rich and poor people in the real world aren't equal. But that is the way things are set up in your hypothetical. In your hypothetical, a Rawlsian veil of ignorance really does apply between rich and poor. So I'm content to say that in your hypothetical, the rich and the poor are equal. I suspect we haven't yet identified the real mismatch, which probably has to do with what you meant and w
Which utility function is this hypothetical rational agent supposed to use?
Beats me. MugaSofer asked me the question in terms of "the utility-increasing things" and I answered in those terms.
As long as it doesn't include a term for Dave!equality, we should be good.
But each of them only gets half! What about ... well, what about individual variance, for a start. S1 and S2 wouldn't be exactly equal for everybody if you're dealing with humans, which to be fair I did not make explicit.
OK. Given some additional data about what arguing for Dave!equality might look like, I'm tapping out here.
Lengthy, amirite? Fair enough.
I don't think that's the point of the Rawlsian veil of ignorance - the point is that you should design a society as if you didn't know which caste you'd be in, not that you should design it so you don't care which caste you'd be in. IOW, maximize the average utility, not minimize the differences between agents.
As I understand it, the goal of my not-knowing is to eliminate the temptation to take my personal status in that society into consideration when judging the society... that is, "ignorant of" is being used as a way of approximating "indifferent to", not as a primary goal in and of itself. But, OK, maybe I just don't understand Rawls. In any case, I infer that none of the rest of my explanation of why I think of equality in terms of equal-utility rather than equal-particulars is at all worth responding to, in which case I'm content to drop the subject here.
Nope, that's my understanding too. You want to maximize utility, not just for your own caste, but for society. Sorry about not responding to your other arguments, I kind of skimmed your comment and thought that was your argument.

Your tone in this comment is hostile and defensive. This suggests to me that you've had discussions with feminists who were very aggressive and possibly unreasonable. If true, I'm sorry that you had to experience that. But please try to keep in mind that not all women/feminists are like that, and that it's possible to recognize misogyny as a phenomenon without blaming each individual man for all of the the gender inequalities in our society.

And the porn comment, as well. Men need to be fixed, because their sexuality isn't desirable or acceptable.

I also think the porn comment wasn't great, though I think you read a bit more into it than I did. As someone who would describe themselves both as "feminist" and "sex-positive," it bothers me when people associate "watches porn" with "psychopath." This story doesn't seem too relevant to an overarching narrative of misogyny; it's just a tale of woe that could have happened to anyone unlucky/foolish enough to marry an insane person.

An older woman is abusing her position of authority to violently take out her frustrations on a young male she has authority over - and that's patriarchy?

I agree that that wasn't substantively about patriarchy. The comment about the older woman having to do all of the household work, however, was.

Your tone in this comment is hostile and defensive. This suggests to me that you've had discussions with feminists who were very aggressive and possibly unreasonable. If true, I'm sorry that you had to experience that. But please try to keep in mind that not all women/feminists are like that, and that it's possible to recognize misogyny as a phenomenon without blaming each individual man for all of the the gender inequalities in our society.

Hostile, yes. I reserve my hostility towards those who are aggressive and unreasonable, however. For an example of a self-described feminist who I like, Quizzical Pussy. (Yeah, yeah, I have black friends.) But I wasn't actually angry about the misandry, although I noted it, and criticized the hypocrisy. I was angry at the -misogyny-.


"this is in part due to women using men’s explanations, with men being less challenging than apologetic" "the victim’s biological mother (abuser’s wife) and paternal grandmother accepted the abuser's rationalizations" (and the bit about the grandmother)

The persistent theme in the post is denying the women involved any agency. There's patriarchy, they're just victims, helpless. They'r... (read more)


In general I disagree with your remarks, but the only one I feel we can make progress on is probably:

And I'm sure I'm "mansplaining," a sexist term which boils down to trivializing male perspective.

You know, I'm pretty sure it's sometimes used that way, but I'm also pretty sure that there's an actual category of discourse that involves men explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance.

Why do I say this? First, I've seen examples of it among my coworkers. Second, I've experienced first-hand the equivalent phenomena where straight people try to comment on what they think my situation is like as if they know what's going on, and end up being completely wrong.

Now I'd agree that the term has become inflated sometimes to mean any negative male reaction to a female narrative, but that's just an argument for deflating it, not an argument that the inflation is universal, and that legitimate examples of illegitimate negative male reactions don't exist.

I'm also pretty sure that there's an actual category of discourse that involves men explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance.

People certainly explain things in a tone of certitude from positions of ignorance, like, all the time. And I find it plausible that this is more common among men since exuding competence and knowledge tends to be more important for male status and men seem to be more concerned with "winning" arguments than women. But I don't see any good reason to make the phenomenon about the relationship between genders. I'm male. My male friends "mansplain" to me all the time. I "mansplain" to them. But most of my friends are highly intelligent, opinionated women-- and all of them "mansplain" to me too.

It's a bad epistemic habit and often disrespectful. It's talking to seem impressive instead of talking to learn or share. It's important for rationalists to avoid it. But I think it's really absurd to suggest it is something only men do-- to the point of referring to it as "mansplaining". Especially since the issues on which -in my experience- women most often talk with certitude from a place of ignorance is gender politics, particularly regarding the experiences and motivations of men.

I detest the term "mansplaining" because it conflates gender issues and errors. It's better to point out actual problems with what's being said.

As a side issue, though, when I was trying to find out whether mansplaining might refer to something real, I did notice on NPR shows that the people who called in and took up more time by using obvious statements to lay groundwork for their questions were typically men.

Personally, I detest it because it exists in order to avoid having to point out actual problems with what's being said. It's a form of ad hominem, really.

In addition, I think the use of "mansplaining" as a signal that just about anything a man can say will be unwelcome. It's a way of eliminating relevant input, and is more likely to silence men who care about behaving well than those who don't care.

I think badly of anyone who uses the word as a straightforward description.

This is what I hear as a man when someone uses the word mansplaining. I don't like being implicitly told that anything I say or think is irrelevant and will be ignored.
I am not at all surprised that men are more likely to exhibit this behavior. Likely for the same reasons men tend to be more adversarial in discussions and debates (on Less Wrong for instance).

But I think it's really absurd to suggest it is something only men do-- to the point of referring to it as "mansplaining".

Sure. Similarly, I think it's absurd to suggest that complaining loudly and aggressively is something only women do, to the point of referring to it as "bitching."

And yet, terms like this are common in our linguistic environment.

Of course, that's not in and of itself a good reason to accept them. My culture no longer uses "Jew someone down" as a way of describing sharp negotiation practices, for example, because it's seen as expressing and encouraging a view of Jews that we collectively no longer endorse. (Though we still use "gyp"in similar ways.) Many communities reject "bitching" for similar reasons as applied to women. And we could certainly reject "mansplaining" as harmful to men.

But it's also worth asking where our energies are most usefully spent.

I sense a fallacy of gray [] coming. The reason for distinguish this genre of discourse (which one might merely call "being an ass") from mansplaining and its related categories (e.g., the other day I overheard in a Starbucks a guy solicit two Asian students, ask them their "ethnic origin", and then reassure them in all seriousness that "We'll send that Dennis Rodman guy back to patch things up.") is that the explanation revolves around the minority party's everyday life. Therefore, e.g., your male friends don't mansplain to you (provided you're not a woman) because you all live in the context of being male. Calling it all merely "being an ass" conceals the political and social mechanisms lurking under the surface of the exchange. The latter -- sometimes. The former? Carving reality at the joints is a good epistemic habit, and I think this does the trick. Of course "being an ass" isn't something only men do but because of the power differential, it's socially acceptable for men to call women out on being wrong, and not the reverse. If you refuse to see the politics, then of course it all looks the same.

Perhaps we could use a new word "blackstealing" for describing when a black person steals something from a white person.

I assure you that I am fully aware that sometimes also black people steal from black people, or white people from black people, or white people from white people, etc... but that is irrelevant here, because those acts just don't have the same qualia. Blackstealing is a specific phenomenon and deserves its name in our discourse.

(To avoid misunderstanding, this comment is not meant seriously, it just serves to illustrate the offensiveness of "mansplaining". I just had to use an analogy, because offending men is not considered an offense.)

(More meta: This comment is probably just another example of mansplaining. It would have to be written by a woman to deserve a serious thought.)

It's a patent absurdity of the social justice dogma that every man has power over every woman.

My Yvain-inspired view of this is that there are several different levels of power, and social justice dogma tends to conflate them. This sometimes results in things like trying to solve things like institutional, situational poverty using discourse, and in pushes that will leave one side without self-respect and the other side no better off materially than before.

If they push intersectionality to its logical conclusion, they'll actually be paying attention to what's happening in individual lives. I don't have a strong opinion about whether this is likely to happen.
I'm... not sure what you mean by that. I've noticed a tendency for groups to join a very specific political cluster (Kind of blue-green-ish maybe?) once they find out about and internalize intersectionality. This happened with New Atheism, and while I think it's for the better, I don't like it. It also seems to result in Inclusivity Wars being incredibly messy and inordinately high-stakes.
What happened with the New Atheists? My notion is that intersectionality allowed people to bring more of their identity into a discussion than previously-- for example, allowing that a person could be both black and homosexual rather than having to choose one. If the process is allowed to go to its logical conclusion (not something you should count on with human beings), then a person's whole experience becomes relevant. I have a notion that one of the things that goes wrong in social justice movements is that they don't allow enough for specialization-- everyone is supposed to care equally about a huge list of injustices. I've wondered about the history of the acceptance of the idea of intersectionality. This seems like a safe place to ask.
The New Atheists: this is just my perspective: Started out with becoming aware that New Atheists should cooperate with other social issues, and should try to appeal to people outside of white, educated, ex-Christians, combined with (correct) realization of problems within community: Elevatorgate, skeptics uninterested in actually useful applications of skepticism to social issues, Dawkin's Islamophobia, etc. Meanwhile, New Atheism ceased to be lonely dissent. Bunch of talk happened, some factions adopted intersectionality and kind of just merged with the rest of modern quasiradical/moderate Social Justice, others went contrarian on other stuff and became (un-thoughtful) reactionaries, etc. My (somewhat fuzzy) criticism of intersectionality is basically that it discourages keeping ones identity small, specifically on stuff that is usual Social Justice fare, and tends to encourage the congealment of a big body of politics where somebody can always spam 'but that doesn't include ' or 'but that wouldn't work for ' whenever they run into an idea they disagree with. That said, I do think that the basic concept is important and needs to be understood.
As far as I can tell, some of the leading New Atheists decided to expand their identity to include certain political stances, as well as certain political labels. By doing so they formed a distinct in-group, and immediately became embroiled in an escalating series of in-group vs. out-group skirmishes. At present, as far as I can tell, New Atheists in both groups spend more time on inter-group fighting than on advancing their original goals.
I understand that this is the position of those who like using the term. But my comment was explicitly denying that there is any obvious political or social import lurking under the surface of the exchange. My position is precisely that what is called "mansplaining" is just "being an ass" and that there is no need to attribute any darker, oppressive content to the exchange. Your reply is begging the question. I actually wasn't talking about "using the term 'mansplaining'" here. I was talking about the behavior the word refers to. Obviously, I don't think it carves reality at the joints, though. I'm aware there are parts of the world where this is the case and I'm sure there are retrograde parts of the West where it is true as well. But this claim is totally and hilariously laughable in my social circle and demographic. Most of my friends are women. I get called out for being wrong all the time.

You know, I'm pretty sure it's sometimes used that way, but I'm also pretty sure that there's an actual category of discourse that involves men explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance.

This is part of humanity. It's not unique to men.

I've experienced first-hand the equivalent phenomena where straight people try to comment on what they think my situation is like as if they know what's going on, and end up being completely wrong.

Being bisexual, I know exactly what you're referring to. However, again, the typical mind fallacy is not unique to straight people, or men.

Now I'd agree that the term has become inflated sometimes to mean any negative male reaction to a female narrative, but that's just an argument for deflating it, not an argument that the inflation is universal, and that legitimate examples of illegitimate negative male reactions don't exist.

The issue with this argument is that "male" doesn't belong in your last sentence. Illegitimate arguments exist. Point out why they're illegitimate. If you can't, you have no business responding to the argument.

"Mansplaining" is sexist. It's kind of like the term "hysterical." Cognitive dissonance is encountering somebody who regularly uses the term "mansplaining" complaining about the sexist origins of the word "hysterical."

At least some feminists today prefer the term "splaining", precisely because the behavior isn't unique to men.

It's better (although it still fails to reject an argument on its merits, or lack thereof), but I'm not sure the term can really be rehabilitated in such a manner. First, the connotation has already been established among too many people, and it's bad, and second, most of those I've encountered who use that term write it as `splaining.

It comes across less as addressing a problem and more as hiding it. It becomes a code word - whitewashing the explicit sexism, but maintaining the implicit.

The other problem is that when a problem has become a topic of public discussion, people say the same things again and again. It's not just the other side who uses bingo cards. ("Bingo cards" is a term used to deride your opponents saying the usual things.)
Well... I'd guess that many of the people who use the word "hysterical" aren't aware of its etymology, or at least aren't thinking about it. (Is the word "bad" *ist because it originally meant "hermaphrodite"?) Yes.
The root of the word refers to the Greek word hystera, which refers to the uterus. Hysteria -originally- referred to female sexual dysfunction, but medical quackery resulted in becoming a catch-all diagnosis in women experiencing unidentified symptoms. Given that the treatment was using vibrators or other mechanisms of inducing orgasm, and given that the culture of the era was that men weren't supposed to desire sex/sex was demeaning to them, and women were supposed to be sex-crazy (the reverse is actually a fairly recent phenomenon - watch older movies and you'll still see traces of these attitudes), I suspect that women were frequently more than a little complicit in that particular bit of quackery. Freud and other contemporary psychologists started using one of the quack versions of the word to describe emotional issues, and it stuck.
I feel I've responded to most of this in the sibling thread (tl;dr: fallacy of gray, ignores social/political contexts, not useful to generalize as "being an ass"), except: A wrong argument is still wrong, even if the social/political cost of responding to it is too high. A correct counterargument is still correct, even if the social/political cost of stating it is too high. It's cognitive dissonance provided you ignore the political, social, and historical context of each utterance.
I assume you believe that your belief in the significance of that context is rational. What evidence could I present that your understanding of the context is incorrect? Because absent that, I don't see this argument as being fruitful. Your essential argument comes down to the point that I lack sufficient perspective pretty much on the basis that my perspective doesn't match yours. (I will confess that my own perspective probably won't change. There was some fucked up shit in my childhood which I won't get into that is going to permanently color my attitudes; suffice to say I have little sympathy for people who insist misandry can't happen or is somehow different or less significant because context. Those are my experiences you're trivializing there.)
For example, evidence that women were a dominant group during the period when "hysteria" came into use. Then I would agree that "hysteria" is largely equivalent to "mansplaining." I find that I'm confused. I thought we were talking about whether or not social and political forces were relevant (in a "carving reality at the joints" sense) to interpreting a certain kind of behavior. Excuse me, but I've not said anything about your experiences, and I do in fact believe that misandry exists and is significant. I just don't know how to talk about either "women being told things they already know by ignorant men" or "men being told things they already know by ignorant women" without actually distinguishing the two as subclasses of the class of actions I've called elsewhere "being an ass."
Excerpting something you've written in another comment: "If you refuse to see the politics, then of course it all looks the same." Am I mistaken in taking your position on the matter as that all gender relations should be viewed through historical context? You are, however, insisting that it's different/less significant. My statement was addressing a broad class of gender relations contexts that I cannot accept. My childhood self had neither input into nor knowledge of that context, and your position reads to me as requiring that historical context makes my experiences less significant than an analogous experience by a girl. I refuse to accept a worldview which dehumanizes me. Why do you insist on carving reality at those particular joints, however? Why are woman-man and man-woman the appropriate places to carve reality? You're coming into the discussion -assuming- those joints are appropriate places to carve. "Mansplaining" is offensive, and it's used by precisely that group of people who believe man-woman and woman-man are appropriate places to carve reality. I can only take it as a -deliberate attack on my gender-. People using the word "hysteria" aren't generally aware of its original meaning or intent. The words are no longer the same. "Hysteria" is no longer reasonably offensive, because it is used by people who do not know that it could be; it takes education to even know that it is something you could take offense at. "Mansplaining" on the other hand is used almost exclusively by people who know exactly what they're doing, and it is almost exclusively directed at people who know exactly what it means when they're doing it.
Different? Yes, of course it's different; it's a different activity with different characteristics that occurs in substantially different ways. Less significant? No. Because that's where we started when we started talking about mansplaining. (In fact, I also made a gay-straight distinction that is also not completely true.) It's not the only place, but it is a place, and I've tried to argue here that treating both classes of interaction (or, more broadly, the whole continuum of interaction) as a single class is not helpful. I'm done being accused of misandry when all I've said generalizes to a broad variety of classes of interaction and kinds of power struggles within many different groups. EDIT: Perhaps I should have explicitly said I was tapping out. Suffice it to say I agree with very little of OrphanWilde's interpretation of the views I've presented in this thread.

I haven't accused you of misandry. (Seriously, this should be an "I am confused" moment. Please stop trying to fit what I am saying into a predefined narrative.)

What I've accused you of, effectively, is supporting a dominance hierarchy that dehumanizes me, that makes my experiences less significant. More than one guy has said in this post that he finds the term "mansplaining" to be offensive, and a strong signal that his gender will be held against him, and anything he says will be ignored. Why do you persist in defending it? Because you insist on a dominance hierarchy that makes their experiences matter less than... what exactly? The ability of feminists to be offensive? Because you think being in a dominant class confers an immunity against hurt?

The dominance hierarchy didn't protect me from an emotionally abusive misandrist. It didn't protect me from the college professor who routinely flunked or kicked out every male student who ever made the mistake of taking a class with her without asking around about her reputation first. It doesn't protect me from rape or violence. It does not, in fact, confer any protections at all. Instead, it strips them a... (read more)

Well, yes. It also involves women explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance. Because the category in question is, in fact, that of people explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance.
See here. []
I fail to see why being certain while uninformed and powerful vs. being certain while uninformed and powerless is a good Schelling point. I suspect this is why that comment was downvoted.
If you're not going to give reasons why you don't think it's a valuable ontology, then there's nothing more to say. The comment was clearly downvoted for political reasons. I should never have wasted so much time arguing with someone who had admitted they were mind-killed. Please don't act like karma is remotely representative of the correctness of comments.
of course it was. the entire concept and topic of mansplaining is political. It's overtly a status move, seeking to reduce the status of men explaining to women. We can ignore whether or not this should be the case, or whether the current disequilbirium in the splainosphere towards men doing the splaining is something that deserves to be corrected, but to say that "mansplaining" carves reality at any joints but political ones seems untrue to me.
That's all I was saying. For instance []:
I never would have guessed that anyone could have meant that by "qualia". I take it to mean the experiential aspect of the world.
If you're not going to give reasons why you think it's a valuable ontology, then there's nothing more to say.
This reminds of the viral video of Senate estimates hearing where one senator's Mansplaining accusation [] backfires badly. Go gender equality! Fight both patriachy and matriachy!

I'm copying this comment from the PUA discussion because that post is being downvoted to oblivion and I don't want this comment to get lost.

PUA and Last Minute Resistance: I have no idea why PUA gets its bad reputation from negging when something like this was easy to find "Distract her thoughts with banter: It’s very simple to distract her logical mind… just don’t answer questions, deflect them. If she says “Where do you live” say “Oh, it’s like 5 minutes away”. Keep the conversation flowing and she will be fine."

This one has an explicit "no means no", but a strong recommendation to distract her from anything short of an emphatic no.

This one is interesting-- it puts seduction in the category of salesmanship, and has some clue about why being manipulated isn't fun.

I recommend Confessions of a Pickup Artist Chaser to give some idea of the range of thought and technique in the PUA communities. Chapter 3 covers PUA and Last Minute Resistance, and is an excellent description of how to not pressure people into behavior they don't want. Key points: withdrawing from connection counts as pressure. If you respect the person and they need time to process what's going on, ... (read more)

The LMR stuff is pretty ethically backward.

It also strikes me as really counterproductive for the stated PUA goals of social success and having lots of fun. I guess there are those who just want to maximize the number of women they can say they've slept with. But to me it just sounds like a recipe for rushed, communication free, one-time-only sex-- which is to say really bad sex. Not to mention it reeks of the ego-obsessed neediness PUAs generally suggest rejecting.

Regarding parallels between seduction and salesmanship, there is a recent interesting post [] on Overcoming Bias about the asymmetry between the behavior of buyers and sellers in a trade transaction: buyers tend to take a cautious, passive role, while sellers take an active, persuasive role. I think that Hanson's signalling explanaition is wrong, but he is right to notice that this behavioral asymmetry exists. My explanation is that this phenomenon is caused by information asymmetry []: in a typical transaction, the seller has usually less uncertainty about the utility that they will get from the transaction than the buyer, since while both parties can evaluate the utility of money, the seller has usually better information about the object being sold than the buyer has. Therefore, it makes sense for the risk averse buyer to adopt a cautious stance, creating incentive for the seller try to persuade them. The more information asymmetry exists in a markert, the more manipulative pressure sales techniques we observe: used car salesmen get their reputation from the fact that the used car market is indeed a textbook example of high information asymmetry market []. Back to the seduction scene, it might make sense that in a typical club pickup scenario, men have less uncertainty about the utility of an encounter than women do: a man looking for a one-night stand may only care about (generalized) looks, which are easy to evaluate, while even a women looking for casual sex might be seeking for status, which is difficult to evaluate in strangers you just met, or she might be taking into account the risks of being raped, robbed or otherwise abused, or she might be unconsciously considering the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. If that's the case, it might be explain why women tend to take a cautious passive role while m
Disclaimer: My knowledge of PUA comes mostly from third party accounts. I've rarely read their own material or seen a self-described PUA in action, and I've never tried to implement their techniques myself, so my views on PUA might be inaccurate. I'm under the impression that both advocates and critics tend to exagerate PUA: I mean, if you are a normally attractive, or maybe even a slightly lower-than-average attractive man, and you go to clubs where sexually available women go searching for mates, and you approach a lot of these women, then provided you don't do something terribly stupid or awkward, you have good chances of getting laid. Practice will further increase your chances, but I suppose it's mostly a matter of learning how to quickly filter out unresponsive women and move to the next target, rather than applying some arcane forbidden mind control tricks. I'm inclined to believe that most of the controversial stuff like "negging" or NLP is likely overrated, at least until proven effective by proper scientific evidence. Sure, there may be lots of guys using them and getting laid, so they may genuinely believe that they've mastered the dark arts of mind manipulation, while in fact the women they score might be clearly seeing through their tactics and choose to go along with them because, hey, these women want to have sex! Similarly, those who criticize PUA on the grounds that it's dishonestly manipulative might be underestimating the decisonal autonomy of the women that choose to sleep with these men. I suppose there are also extreme cases of men who clearly break social rules and even laws in order to have sex, such as targeting severely intoxicated or mentally disabled women, or completely misrepresenting themselves to the point of legal fraud and identity theft, but I assume that these sociopathic behaviors are not typical of most PUAs.

I mean, if you are a normally attractive, or maybe even a slightly lower-than-average attractive man, and you go to clubs where sexually available women go searching for mates, and you approach a lot of these women, then provided you don't do something terribly stupid or awkward, you have good chances of getting laid.

Above-average attractiveness, 12 years of college parties, 2 years in a fraternity, attended hundreds of parties, bars, and clubs, threw about a dozen parties myself, spoke to thousands of women. Did not hook up once in that manner, even with women who obviously wanted to hook up with me. There is some secret courting dance the male must do at that point, and I don't know it.

I once threw a party and invited only random strangers, where every single person who attended hooked up with another stranger, except me and my co-host. We left 2 dozen strangers silently locking jaws in pairs in our apartment and went to another party.

After that, took up bodybuilding for a couple of years, and in the second year found it easy to pick up women without ever going to those places.

Above-average or above-median? The latter doesn't imply the former, as the distribution of male attractiveness [] is skewed to the right. (I'm asking mostly because of your last paragraph.) Me neither. :-( Well, I might have figured it out recently, but I haven't met anyone who obviously wanted to hook up with me since. (Fun fact: a couple of times when I was in Ireland, I would approach nearly every single woman in the club and the only one who wouldn't turn me down within minutes and I would end up making out with was the one who had approached me first. Then she would tell me that she had a boyfriend, or give me a fake number, and leave.)
I meant above median. But the graph you link to is skewed heavily to the left. Looks like women think something like 15% of men are above-medium attractiveness. I'm probably not on the right-hand side of that graph. I constructed a graph of the distribution of number of sexual partners from a large dataset. I expected that most women were having sex with a small # of guys. This is true, but it's also true, to almost as great a degree, that most men are having sex with a small number of women.
You're using the term backwards. (I looked it up before posting my comment, and have just done so again.)
Where did you get your dataset?
At clubs?
At least it makes a good story. Anyhow, I suspect the secret courting dance involves desperation and lots of awkwardness your first time. Pretty much everything unspoken does.
I'm assuming the two of you weren't attracted to each other (possibly due to being heterosexual people of the same gender), right? :-)
Ok, obviously there are some men ("non-neurotypical") which find this part difficult. But my point is that the "secret courting dance" is not some mind manipulation dark ritual. Maybe you should have considered inviting more women than men :D

if you are a normally attractive, or maybe even a slightly lower-than-average attractive man, and you go to clubs where sexually available women go searching for mates, and you approach a lot of these women, then provided you don't do something terribly stupid or awkward,

Among the kind of people who read Less Wrong, that's bigger “if” than you might realize.

Now I don't know what exactly typical readers of PUA material are like, but few of the people in the audience of the RSD seminars I've watched looked like your average jock either. So, I'm under the impression that PUAs are mostly just systematizing stuff that more neurotypical guys just implement in System 1, the way that if you've just started learning a language it can be useful to explicitly study grammatical features that native speakers don't usually consciously think about.

That's why included the clause, "provided you don't do something terribly stupid or awkward", and I should add that "awkward" includes failing to send or to respond to non-verbal cues, or generally failing to adhere to normally innate courtship patterns. I don't deny that there are people which have difficulties with that, but my point is that these courtship patterns are not ridiculously effective mind control techniques, as both PUA advocates and critics often claim. As I said my knowledge of the matter is superficial, but every time I visited some PUA website, including this RSD thing I've just googled, they all looked quite scammy: they are all about some self-proclaimed seduction guru who keeps bragging about his seemingly super-human seductive prowess (completely unfalsifiable, of course) and would happily share his dark secrets with you, for a price. They all want to sell you their books, DVDs, live courses, etc. Seriously, this RSD group you mentioned offers three-day bootcamps for $2,000 - $2,500. That's one-tenth of the annual tuition for a private US college, and they charge it for three days! Compare to the amount of high-quality, reliable, valuable information you can find for free online on any kind of technical topic, and you'll see why I think PUA smells fishy. I'm inclined to think that if there is anything dishonest about the PUA movement, it's not the sexual hypnosis of innocent women, it's rather the scamming of gullible, sexually deprived men.
That's less than a CFAR workshop []! ;-)
How costly is the average divorce in USA? If "the Game" reduces the chance of a marriage followed by a divorce by 1%, was it worth it? How much money does an average nerd spend on dating before he gets laid? Is the price of getting 1 sexual patner higher or lower after the RSD seminar? Prices are sometimes high or low depending on the context you put them in...
How confident ought I be that "the Game" will reduce my chances of an eventual $200,000 divorce by 1%?
You may or may not find a rip of those DVDs for free online, if you know where to look. ;-) (I agree that they're way overpriced -- but they're nowhere as bad as you'd guess from the advertising.)
My point is that if most detailed information about a subject is legally non-free, the prices are high, and there is no independent verification, the chances of the whole market being largely fraudolent are high. I suppose they are a bit of common sense and lots of nonsense. It could have some placebo effect, but so does homeopathy.
Others have already commented about The Blueprint Decoded. Foundations seemed to me to be lots of common sense and a bit of nonsense¹: it's mostly stuff that I'd guess most anywhere-near neurotypical people already know on some level. Of course, Egan's Law must apply, so it's not surprising that what PUAs teach isn't that different from what sexually successful non-PUAs already do. Transformations is essentially the life stories of a bunch of guys who used to be unsuccessful with women and then started doing PUA. It may be helpful for certain people due to this effect [], but then again I'd rather read Feynman's biography again. (I stopped watching it halfway through it.) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. But then again, nearly any educational video whatsoever has a bit of nonsense.
Anyway. The Blueprint Decoded has been recommended by quite a few LWers (from googling I can find this [] and this [], but I'm pretty sure there were more) though I'm under the impression that very little of PUA in general is that good.
The Blueprint Decoded. I add my recommendation of that product... even to those not particularly interested in dating. As a pop-psychology and personal development product it is excellent. In fact it is sufficiently non-specialised that I would recommend those specifically interested in maximising their PUA success to also seek out a more tactical and less identity-based guide to complement it.
Fixed. If I copied and pasted that, that might explain why I got so few search results... [tries] Apparently not.
The books and DVDs thing is a problem, yes. AIUI, it is quite possible to find high quality free information, but it takes some looking around. As for the bootcamps; these are some of the highest-profile events in the PUA community. Also, assuming that they actually work with reasonable probability and also generalize to a sustained improvement in social skills, economic/monetary returns for the participants might suffice to justify a significant fraction of that cost.
That's a big assumption given the lack of independent verification.

TL;DR: Please isolate and clarify what specific experiences and actions you are talking about when you say "rape", "assault", etc. in the same manner that you would want others to if you were talking about taxes and people kept saying "theft" and "slavery". Thank you.

Disclaimer: Not intended directly as a critique or counterargument to the submissions.
Other disclaimer: If reading descriptions of violent sexual assault can trigger traumatic experiences, don't read this.


Rape rape raaaaaape!

Honestly, when things like "my ex raped and assaulted and abused me" and "forced sex on me" come up, I have no idea what the person is referring to. In context, the person saying this might have a very specific emotion / subjective experience in mind when they say this. However, without direct access to this experience, I'm left hanging...

Does this mean the partner just insisted verbally a lot, saying "it'll be fun", "come on, don't be like that" (with negative connotation), maybe some psychological pressure, and then the victim ended up agreeing to have sex because, who knows, they might enjoy it and it'll ple... (read more)

a male punched a female down to the floor or otherwise used physical violence until the female had no more ability to defend herself, and then the guy ripped apart clothing and forcefully inserted himself, fending off or forcefully countering (perhaps by preemptive hitting to weaken her) her attempts at defense (if any by that point) while just painfully (for her) enjoying his forced sex, control, cruelty, dominance and the humiliation / despair of his victim?

One major problem with communication on this issue is that the quoted text is not how sexual assault tends to appear in the real world. If that's the definition of rape or sexual assault, then what happened in Steubenville wasn't rape or sexual assault. (Just to be clear, I think what happened in Steubenville deserves to be criminalized as sexual assault).

Here is one analysis of the sociological research on rape. In brief, in a survey of ~ 1800 college students, 6% said yes to questions like:

Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances (e.g., removing their clothes)?

63% of the folks who sa... (read more)

I feel like I'm being read rather uncharitably.

One major problem with communication on this issue is that the quoted text is not how sexual assault tends to appear in the real world. If that's the definition of rape or sexual assault, then what happened in Steubenville wasn't rape or sexual assault. (Just to be clear, I think what happened in Steubenville deserves to be criminalized as sexual assault).

This is, in fact, one of my points. People sometimes gloss over the differences between various points in the spectrum, and speak with connotations as if all forms of rape were exactly as horrible and utility-destroying as the one I described. My nitpick is that this should be avoided. My desire is that people pay more attention to avoiding this error.

In brief, in a survey of ~ 1800 college students, 6% said yes to questions like:

I'm surprised, and not in that direction. 6% seems unusually low if taken at face value. Adjusting for the fact that this is a self-reporting survey, sure, that matches my priors (even though that still feels a bit low, but might be a memory / bias thing). The military stats also somewhat fit within the bounds of my priors, though I'll update a bit ... (read more)

I feel like I'm being read rather uncharitably.

I didn't downvote. Sexual assault certainly is a spectrum. But your two examples are roughly like saying:

There are two likely possibilities. First, DARE is right about everything. Second, drug abuse is not a serious problem in this country.

Suppose I have a strong prior that one doesn't think the second prong is true. Then I should adjust my estimate that one is very confused about drug abuse significantly upward (because DARE is nonsense).

The interventions likely to reduce stranger rape are unlikely to effect skeevy rape. Since skeevy rape is overwhelmingly more common (the linked research says that no one described using force on a stranger), that's where we should focus the discussion.

For the record, before reading your comment I interpreted the two examples as "here are two extremes, please be more specific about where on this spectrum what you're describing falls", rather than "which of this two was it?" (This is not to contradict your critique. On re-reading the original text I can see it's not explicitly saying either, I just interpreted differently. I only mean to make known to both the poster and you that (what I assume was) his intent was not opaque to all readers.)
Fair enough. I think the best form of my critique is something like:
Aha. This makes some things clearer for me. Perhaps I can also make some things clearer about my thought process: The intent behind those two specific examples was to give something that seems only a little bit less bad than Judge McJudgington's average rape case, and then give something utterly horrible that can fight for headlines with Jack The Ripper. My motive for this was that when Judge McJudgington's (really) average rape case (not the one I gave as example) makes the headlines, people thinkof the second example and go all indignant and want the rapist to be punished more than a murderer. Many people on the internets have this model of what "rape" is that matches the extreme example. However, I've also noticed that many (feminists and anti-male-apologists seem to come up more often here) others have for model of "rape" the first example, and anything that goes above that they will decry "rape and torture!" in the same way the previous category of people get enraged at the extreme case. In all those situations, the headline article for Judge McJudgington's case will cater to both of these groups and try to appeal to their emotions. Thus the entire spectrum, from both endpoints, gets blurred into a single word -- "rape". That is why I chose those examples. They're the two endpoints where, from my observations, the entire spectrum of the word "rape" get blurred into one when a large representative group talks about it (or a headline news article gets written).
I agree that this dynamic occurs and is extremely irrational. I just think the better solution is to avoid talking about extreme-rape as if it is something that actually occurs. Many feminists find this dynamic very troubling. When they want to talk about rare prevention, people start talking about how to prevent extreme-rape instead of how to prevent average-rape. Thus, those feminists that I find worth reading (like the piece [] I linked []) tend to sharply challenge the assertion that extreme-rape occurs with enough frequency to deserve being the focus of attention (or receive any attention at all). Unfortunately, most discussion about rape turns quickly into advice that is likely (1) already known to any person not currently living under a rock, (2) not a highly effective intervention, and (3) very judgmental. E.g. "Don't accept drinks from a stranger at a party." (1) Not exactly new advice to the listener (2) Doesn't address the social context about other people at the party accepting or endorsing the consequences of skeezy sex (3) Implicitly, is quite judgmental about women even being at parties.
There is a point where this kind of re-framing and attribution of intent goes beyond ridiculous and becomes outright dangerous. The advice "Don't accept drinks from a stranger at a party" is necessary wisdom for people living in the world that is. The same applies to the related personal security knowledge "Don't walk alone at night in a dark alley" (Well, get a cab, you moron! And on the way, if a stranger offers you candy, don't get in the van! []. It would be nice if the world was one in which it was not possible for people to have bad things happen to them. But we don't live in that world. Yet there is a pervasive notion that acknowledging risks and taking precautions is in some way endorsing the need for them. Anyone who tells you to act as if the world is as it should be instead of how it is (on pain of being stigmatised as 'judgemental') is acting as an enemy, not an ally---they are sabotaging you. That's great. The cultural transfer of life skills is working as intended. Most instances where things like "look both ways before crossing the road" and "don't accept drinks from a stranger at a party" are shared should be redundant.
Wait, so when my mother was telling me this when I was 15, it was implicitly judgmental about women being at parties? (ftr: I'm male and always have been.) I think the inference here is way too liberal and there's way too much Find-The-Mysogyny being applied here. The advice is good, and if it happens to be even more important for women because they have the additional possible negative consequence of getting raped (or rather, much higher probability, since men can and do get raped at parties in rare occasions), then all the better for it to be said and applied. Certain contexts may or may not make certain phrases like that one judgmental, and your experience may or may not show that such contexts usually do so for this particular phrase... but they don't in my experience. None of this was aimed as a rebuke to your main point that they can be extremely judgmental.
Your mother told you not to accept drinks from strangers at parties? Do you recall her rationale? If there were no such chemical as a roofie, would the no-stranger-drinks rule at parties be a good idea? Edit: Yes, it would be a better if men and women received the instruction equally, instead of the suggestion being directed predominantly towards women. No, it was implicitly judgmental about the listener being at parties (i.e. your mother was expressing some amount of preference that you not go).
This is explicitly contrary to her explicit encouragement that I go to parties more when I was young. I didn't really go out very often at all. Yes. No. As far as I can recall/tell, it was a simple precaution against getting drugged or poisoned or just getting sick from drinking from a glass that a prankster or otherwise ill-intentioned stranger might have put something in, or even from just getting sick from drinking from a glass that a stranger has also drank from or spit in or whatever. I don't understand the relevance / what you mean. If you mean if there were no harmful drugs or other bad stuff that could be invisibly inserted in drinks, then not particularly (the above reasons would still be valid, but not really worth having such a strong admonition for). But this feels like asking "If physics never allowed car accidents, would the always-wear-a-seatbelt rule in cars be a good idea?"
Ozy Frantz tried to remedy that on zir blog [].

Isn't the inverse there: "She attended a party, planning to get drunk and sleep with some guy who she wouldn't sleep with if she was sober"?

Where's the consent issue? She made a decision when she was sober and had capacity to make decisions. If you point a gun into a crowd and fire, it's no defense to say to you didn't intend to kill whoever was unlucky enough to get hit.
It would be a defense if the crowd showed up to a getting shot party (this is an exaggeration). There's a reasonable argument to be made that people show up to parties expecting to drink and do things they wouldn't usually do except when drunk. That makes it a lot less sinister for someone to plan on going to a party and getting drunk and having sex with a drunk girl, if the social assumption is that's what most people are going to the party for in the first place.
Where did that social assumption come from? Can't someone drink at a frat party without wanting or anticipating having sex?
I don't know, but I'm pretty confident it exists. I'm sure someone CAN drink at a frat party without wanting or anticipating sex, and in fact most people probably don't get laid. But I also think it's not as immoral to go to a frat party expecting and planning on hooking up with a drunk person, as it is to rape someone.
Even if that person intended to have drunk sex, it doesn't mean that they intended to have it with you specifically. And anyway, I doubt that many people who intend to have drunk sex also intend to have it while drunk enough to be in a state of consciousness so much diminished that they are unable to consent.
My impression is that both sides in the argument are using the level of drunkness which supports their point. The people who don't want drunk = non-consent imagine people who are moderately drunk, who are more likely to say choose sex than they would be sober, and who chose to get that drunk because they want to have sex but otherwise wouldn't. The people who do want drunk = non-consent imagine people who are very drunk-- unconscious or barely able to mumble and make vague gestures. Neither side is entirely wrong-headed, though my sympathies are with the second group, since it's pretty common for people to drink to the point of incapacitation. On the other hand, rules becoming much stricter than necessary happens too.
Yes; I also suspect many of them don't even realize it -- simply, the typical [] example of a drunk person is someone who deliberately drinks in order to lower their inhibitions in the minds of the first group, but in the minds of the second group it's a passed-out person, due to the different experiences of the two groups and generalizing from one example []. (This is an example of a more general pattern, about which I've been thinking of writing a top-level post but kept putting that off.) I was going to say “is it?”, then I remembered that, according to this article [] (discussed on OB before [] BTW), I am from an “integrated” culture and you're from an “ambivalent” one.
I've encountered people who want drunkenness to be non-consent who explicitly reject the reasoning in your second example; they want any reduced capacity to make decisions to render consent invalid. (And I've seen some very convoluted logic about passive versus aggressive sexual behavior justifying why it's still rape when the man has also been drinking from a couple of them.) (The inability to strawman feminism is really bizarre. It's possible to strawman individual feminists, but for the ideology as a whole, no matter how bizarre a position you can think up, there's somebody that actually holds that belief, and more insists it is proper feminist thought, and who probably also insists that anybody who doesn't agree isn't a proper feminist. And the craziest also tend to be the loudest; Jezebel, for instance.)
That sounds like a way too broad category to be useful. Most of the time there will be something or another [] that negatively affects my mental faculties.
The ability to consent varies continuously with intoxication level, hence it could be technically argued that a gray area exists. But the effect seems quite non-linear, with a sharp transition. As a rule of thumb I would say that if somebody is able to walk on their own then they can consent, otherwise they can't. I suppose there are cases when somebody first consents, or reasonably appears to consent, then they fall unconscious during the act, then they wake up and OMG I WAS RAPED!!!11ONE1!! This type of "accidental rape" is possible, but I doubt it's common: evidence suggests that the majority of rapes, including those enabled by victim intoxication, are committed by a small proportion of men who are serial rapists and often have other patterns of antisocial behaviors. These people typically understand that their behaviors violate laws and social norms, yet they do it anyway because they don't care and believe (often correctly) that they can get away with it.
How do blackouts figure into this?
-2V_V10y []
This implies that the ability to walk doesn't imply a reliably good grade of consent.
Who could ever have doubted that []?
V_V says []:
Yes, my point was that walking on your own has at least one well-known exception, and so of course no one would say that walking is any more than a fallible piece of evidence, a heuristic, a relatively reliable guide, a rule of thumb. You rephrasing it implied skepticism that it was ever fallible, so I brought up the exception (and particularly appropriate, note the mention of sex in the lede of the link).
As I said, there is some gray area. Some people can do things they later regret during alcoholic blackouts, but it doesn't mean that they are completely incapable to exercise judgement in these circumstances. In fact, in most cases they would be still considered legally responsable for their actions.
Yep. Kill somebody, you're still held wholly responsible. Consent to sex, on the other hand, is far too serious a matter. My general rule of thumb is thus: If you inebriate yourself, you're responsible for everything you do under the influence of alcohol, including consent. Your responsibility for your actions precludes actions intended to deny your own responsibility. Which is not to say that sex with an unconscious person isn't rape; I limit myself strictly to those cases where the person does in fact give consent.
I think we should start by addressing this problem.
Also levels of drunkness, also directedness. IIRC evidence suggests some issues with intentionality.
That sounds like a very dangerous social norm, which should probably be changed at the earliest opportunity, but excellent point.
I don't necessarily agree. It's dangerous if there's a grey zone and all parties sort of sidle into it and bad stuff happens, but I think it's not bad to have a subset of parties for this purpose. A more socially acceptable and accessible version of play parties :)
If the norms were better articulated people could more clearly consent or opt out, but as it is I'd say it's easier to treat drinking as its own thing and create such parties from scratch if you must have them.
Care to explain why []? Just to be clear I also find what happened in Steubenville unacceptable, then again I find a lot of sex related things unacceptable that you probably don't.

Care to explain why [the Steubenville perpetrators should be convicted criminals]?

Their actions weren't consensual among all the participants. The places in law or morality where non-consensual acts between private citizens are allowed are few and far between.

I'm aware of your hypothetical about high caste people wanting a huge physical space from lower caste people. That's not about consent - that's about what acts society requires consent to perform. Physical contact is a pretty clear line.

Whether it was "rape" depends on vagaries in the definitions in Ohio's criminal code. That's why I'm talking about the category of sexual assault.

TBH, I think being forced into sex through emotional blackmail of whatever is part of the same empirical cluster as "real" rape - although naturally it's a less damaging variant, it's also more insidious precisely because it doesn't trigger a violent emotional reaction as easily. That said, I'll second the request for clarification.

Is "contempt" a better word for the attitudes and actions associated with "misogyny" than "hate"? "Hate" seems too active, conscious, and intention-based - it's a strong feeling and when you feel it, you know it.


The article about Larsson also has a bit about his partner's contributions not being credited to her, which seems to be typical of man-woman partnerships. Besides seeing it in other stories, I've experienced it in my own life.

Beware of hasty generalization. The fact that you have been in an abusive relationship and you've read similar stories doesn't imply that these relationships are typical.

You might think my ex was a sociopath, but no -- he's a normal male, working as a university professor.

The intersection between the set of sociopaths and the set of university professors is not necessarily empty. However, claiming that this behavior is normal among males is outright sexist defamation. It's like, after sharing a story of being robbed by a black person you said: "You might think my robber was an antisocial person, but no -- they are a normal black person"


I'm not sure what you describe as a body/mind dichotomy really makes sense or is the proper way of describing your experiences. What you describe seems to be known as egodystonicity, which is a quite common phenomenon to a certain extent, but can potentially become pathological.

She has come to regret wh

... (read more)

The intersection between the set of sociopaths and the set of university professors is not necessarily empty. However, claiming that this behavior is normal among males is outright sexist defamation. It's like, after sharing a story of being robbed by a black person you said: "You might think my robber was an antisocial person, but no -- they are a normal black person"

Over 20% of women in the U.S. experience domestic violence. The incidence of sociopathy is at or below 5% so it's more likely that an abusive male in a relationship is not a sociopath. In India it actually is the "normal male" who is abusive, with the domestic violence rate against women at 50%, although I didn't see any analysis of whether it is a flat 50% of head-of-household males engaged in violence or a higher level of violence perpetrated by a few male family members in extended families.

This isn't directly related, but according to one study, at least 5% of male college students are rapists, with an average of 5 attempted rapes each. And it's plausible that the study detects most rapists. This doesn't necessarily mean that most rapists are sociopaths, though.

The study also shows that most of the recidive rapists also commit other forms of abuse, which is consistent with a sociopathic personality.

Over 20% of women in the U.S. experience domestic violence. The incidence of sociopathy is at or below 5% so it's more likely that an abusive male in a relationship is not a sociopath.

That isn't logically valid. It's possible for a single person to abuse more than one woman. Therefore, the percentage of abusers in the population is likely lower than the percentage of abused. I don't know how much lower that is, but "less than 10%" is entirely plausible.

It's also possible for the same person (e.g. a child or teenager) to receive abuse from more than one person (e.g. both parents). This may counterbalance the above somewhat. (On the other hand, it seems rather certain that the proportion of rape victims is higher than the proportion of rapists, since IIRC almost all rapists are repeat offenders.)

I'd argue that being a repeat offender is, for any crime and especially those with low conviction rates, more likely than being a repeat victim, by simple logic of "an offender chooses, a victim does not." You are right, though, in that I should have mentioned the possibility.

Don't suppose anyone has a source for this? I can see how it could come about, but it would be nice to have something solid.

Good catch. The Harvard rape study (Lisak & Miller 2002) claims 63%, which my brain had apparently rounded up to "almost all". Sigh. Silly brain.

There's also a potential confounding effect if a higher percentage of abusers and abused remain in the same set of relationships, e.g. an abused person moves from one abuser to the next. It looks like sociopathy/psychopathy has a higher prevalence in the abuser population, about 15% to 30% for "batterers", from Domestic violence and psychopathic traits: distinguishing the antisocial batterer from other antisocial offenders. [], with a non-paywall version here []. Most of the studies those results are based on seem to be relatively small (N < 100) and essentially self-selected, but I couldn't find anything better.
The Wikipedia article you linked doesn't reference the source of that claim. Anyway, IIUC a large part of abuse comes from relatively few perpetrators.

The intersection between the set of sociopaths and the set of university professors is not necessarily empty. However, claiming that this behavior is normal among males is outright sexist defamation. It's like, after sharing a story of being robbed by a black person you said: "You might think my robber was an antisocial person, but no -- they are a normal black person"

I also felt while reading this that my sex as a group was being defamed, but while I doubt that the author has the evidence to conclude that such behavior is truly typical of males in general, I also have to be skeptical that my own experiences are sufficient evidence to suppose that such behavior is atypical. Our own social circles tend to be very heavily filtered compared to the overall population, and just because the behavior the author wrote about describes few of the guys I've associated with, doesn't mean it's not normal.

I agree that we don't have evidence that his behavior is typical of men, but I find it plausible that a moderately high proportion of men and women have a script about relationships which makes it easy to maintain such behavior for quite a while without either partner being explicitly aware that it's abusive.

That's what statistics are for.
On the other hand, I can't hold it against people that they care about their group reputation.
See also the nice guy privilege [].
It makes a fair point, although I think it's also an illustration of how privilege is a terrible term for the phenomenon it's used to describe [].
In general I agree that “blind spot” (as suggested in the comments to that series of posts) would be a better term, but in this case, I think that being able to joke and display affection without people freaking out is a privilege even in the ordinary colloquial sense of the word.
Thanks for the link-- I'd missed a bunch of the comments, including Ragen Chastain [] explaining why (though she won't criticize other people for using "privilege", she doesn't use it herself.
Here I genuinely suggest an improvement upon the quoted form of expression in what I hope is an agreeable manner.* -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A better way to express this sentiment, without demeaning another's experience: * "What you describe as a body/mind dichotomy doesn't really make sense to me. [Explain why.] It reminded me of the neo-Freudian concept of egodystonicity - does this theory fit your experience?" -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *I only just noticed some may have been reading a negative affect into the above which I have hopefully now meliorated.
I'd like to read that evidence, if you happen to remember where you found it. A quick search only yielded studies using interpersonal attraction and trust as measurement mechanisms. Do you mean this: [] ? I can understand how one could extrapolate trust from "babies' preference" , but have trouble imagining a large effect size of attractiveness on adults' trust. The same goes for a replication of the baby study that shows adults pairs of faces then inquires after the most trustworthy-seeming of the pair (assuming such a replication exists). Split-second trust decisions may fall well within the effect size, yet I consider trust enough of a system 2 process that forcing a system 1 trust decision has limited applicability. Does the evidence suggest this consideration mistaken?
Halo effect []
For context, the trusting-high-status/attractiveness claim often stems from the Halo Effect cognitive bias, and you might have more luck searching for that. I believe the evidence is likely to have come from there, rather than baby studies.
For the benefit of non-American readers: is HLN fiction? I was under the impression it was a news program.

According to wikipedia, HLN used to be the Headline News part of CNN. So it is supposed to be real news.

But looking at its home page shows that V_V is probably right that there is a lot of sensationalizing going on - P(sensationalizing | Nancy Grace is involved) is essentially the definition of (1 - epsilon).

I don't know, I assumed the OP was referring to some crime show like Law and Order, but in fact that might have been some "true story" type of program. If this is the case, then it should be noted that * these stories are often fictionalized to some extent * even if the story was depicted in an accurate and unbiased way, it doesn't mean that is was typical enough to use it as evidence to update your beliefs.
Er... Why? If someone is too weak (in a generalized sense) to possibly harm me without repercussions, wouldn't that make me less afraid of him?
I suppose so, but unattractive and low-status doesn't necessarily mean potentially less harmful. In fact, it could be argued that low-status individuals have less to lose form breaking social rules and resorting to aggression (in a generalized sense). Or that just associating with low-status individuals may lower your own status. Anyway, human congnitive heuristics and biases doesn't necessarily need to have an adaptive value.

General note: let's not do that thing where we don't like an argument someone is presenting and so we fail to update on the evidence they present in favor of it.

The argument colors the evidence. If the argument is presented in such a way as to render it likely that confirmation bias is in play, or worse presented in such a way as to render it likely that opposing evidence was deliberately omitted, the evidence loses substantial value. For example, I've seen some really good evidence that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged. However, the context rendered the evidence completely meaningless; the presenters also subscribed to all sorts of other conspiracy theories, presenting evidence which had long-since been debunked. It's a near-certainty that the presentation of the Sandy Hook evidence omitted anything which conflicted with the story presented, making the evidence appear artificially strong.

Beware lest you abuse the notion of evidence-filtering as a Fully General Counterargument to exclude all evidence you don't like: "That argument was filtered, therefore I can ignore it." If you're ticked off by a contrary argument, then you are familiar with the case, and care enough to take sides. You probably already know your own side's strongest arguments. You have no reason to infer, from a contrary argument, the existence of new favorable signs and portents which you have not yet seen. So you are left with the uncomfortable facts themselves; a blue stamp on box B is still evidence.

— EY, "What Evidence Filtered Evidence?"

Also, we should distinguish between experiential evidence that a person offers based on their own experience, and (what we might call) hermeneutic evidence that may depend on a particular selective evaluation of published records. The sort of "evidence" that conspiracy-theorists (Holocaust-deniers; 9/11-truthers, birthers, etc.) have to offer is usually of the latter kind. In the present case, we are dealing with people's reports of their own experiences; even if we do not agree with the sociopolitical conclusions they draw from their experiences, this is not reason for us to become denialists about their experiences themselves.

I have no disagreement; if I intended to say the authors involved were being dishonest, I would make that point, rather than implying it (my apologies if this comes across as defensive, but I find the idea highly... distasteful, to put it mildly). I simply object to Qiaochu_Yuan's unqualified statement; I don't think it is necessarily good advice in the general case when unqualified by caution about the motivations of those presenting the evidence.
Agreed. While memory can be unreliable, people don't normally go all hermeneutic with this kind of thing. Plus it's recognizable and nobody is doing it here.
Descriptions of their own experience are still filtered since it's impossible to describe everything one experiences. Furthermore, whose experiences get presented has definitely been filtered. Also compare the current thread with this one []: both threads involve someone presenting his/her personal experience about how bad things are and generalizing to similar cases, but one has several threads suggesting the presenter is lying, the other has several threads talking about how bad it is to question someone's personal experience.

Mostly irrelevant question: I found it curious that both A and B used the word "body" in places where I would have expected "self" or "mind" or "person":

Forcing or planning a body to serve just one body (even one's own body) will involve abuse.

While I’d like to think that’s not true, since my body’s tendency for as far back as I can remember has been to challenge wrong or unnecessary confabulations (I have to remind my body to be positively reinforcing of good actions)

Out of curiosity, daenerys, was this a coincidence or an artifact of editing?

After re-reading, I've been thinking these might be the same submitter myself, but having blinded myself to keep people's anonymity, I have no way of finding out myself. There had also been a similar spelling/grammar thing I had corrected in both these entries.

The most likely explanation would be if this was one submission that had a separation (like a row of asteriks) that made me end up processing it as two differing submissions when I was moving them all around into similar themes.

If you are the author(s) of this submission, and you don't mind me knowing, please PM me with whether or not this was one submission or two.

ETA: I have updated the OP to include a note that the two submissions may actually be one that I accidentally split in two (or might not be).

Alternatively, they could use a common account (if there is one) or a one-shot sockpuppet for the purposes of PMing you the information while retaining (some) anonymity.
I suggest the username "WhenTwoBecomeOne" [].
I don't know where it originates or whether it serves any deliberate purpose, but that's common in social justice writing.

Both respondents give many examples of people being treated very badly/treating others very badly, but it's not clear what this has to do with misogyny. Just because you're looking for a pattern and see a bunch of examples that fit the pattern doesn't mean the pattern had any causal influence. Yes, in these cases they were men being mean to women (except with the grandmother beating up the brother). But if we were on the lookout for men being abusive to other men we'd also have many examples (rather more, according to my copy of Male Violence, ed. John Archer, 2001). Even if men being mean to women say misogynistic things, this doesn't show they're doing those actions because they are misogynistic, rather than just matching their rhetoric post hoc to their actions.

Did you read the first link []? That is actual misogyny.
1) The study shows that being male is being treated as evidence of being a good applicant. Regardless of the virtues of doing so [], it's not the same as hating women, nor as "apologetics of abusing females", which is how the second respondent defined it. 2) I was, perhaps unclearly, referring to their examples. The purpose of these threads isn't (as far as I was aware) for LW women to bring up articles from the literature, it was to share our experiences. I was pointing out that these respondents had perhaps mis-characterised their experiences.

I gave my ex much input and feedback for his works, but others will never know. Meanwhile, he trivialized and hindered my work. He recently admitted to purposely discouraging me from going to college or doing well while I was there. I suspected as much, like when he guilt-tripped me the morning I had to cram for an AP exam in high school, BSing that my not celebrating his birthday with him meant that I didn't love him. This was when he was in grad school -- he knew what he was doing. He wanted to keep me for himself, and often said so. That thinking--a woman serving one men--was a justification for him to rape, physically assault, psychologically manipulate, and limit me (such as when or what I was allowed to write).

It looks like A went through some significant physical and emotional abuse early and often, probably left with a PTSD or other emotional scars. I wonder how common this is, vs a more subtle version, like the academic workplace discrimination stats linked in the OP.

Due to how our bodies work, a person tends to not respect a partner who is focused on pleasing just that person.

Bodies? Minds? I don't understand what the submitter means here. If this is about s... (read more)

almost all men watch porn, though few compulsively, and the tastes vary wildly.

Many women (more than half according to some statistics) also do it.

Something like a third of women worldwide experience domestic violence. In the U.S. over 10% of college students have reported being raped and between 15% and 20% of women report being raped during their lifetime ( [], []). Compared to violence, my smart-ass guess for how many women experience discrimination some time in their life would be closer to 100%.

In the U.S. over 10% of college students have reported being raped and between 15% and 20% of women report being raped during their lifetime

Eric Raymond has a post here explaining why that statistic is massively exaggerated.

I believe the the original 1 in 6 statistic comes from a national survey [] conducted in 1996 (not by the Colorado Coalition against Sexual Violence, pace ESR), in which 17.6 % of the surveyed women said they had been victims of completed or attempted rape in their lifetimes. In the survey questions, rape was explicitly defined as vaginal, oral or anal penetration under force or the threat of force.
The statistical analysis is interesting, but the author's implicit assertion that non-forcible rape is somehow less rape-y than forcible is extremely offputting.

There are necessary gradients.

I don't think my then-girlfriend waking me up with oral sex - that's sex without consent, incidentally, and she and I had a very serious conversation about that afterwards, and set some boundaries for implicit consent for future use - is the same kind of act as what is commonly thought of as rape. I certainly don't think the legal punishments should be the same.

my smart-ass guess for how many women experience discrimination some time in their life would be closer to 100%.

My smart-ass guess for how many humans experience discrimination some time in their life would be closer to 100%.

Sure, but there's experiencing discrimination for any of 1,000 reasons, and there's experiencing discrimination because of your gender.

I'm a male and I had an emotionally abusive father. The abuse I received was rarely, if ever, related to me being a boy, while my older sister was regularly insulted as a girl. For example, getting called gendered insults aka dad screaming repeatedly "you fucking whore!" to his 12 year old daughter in the middle of a crowded street. I didn't have an gendered equivalent.

Were we both abused? Sure. Was my sister's abuse worse? Eh, I don't see that as a worthwhile question. Did her abuse negatively affect her view of herself as a woman more that mine negatively affected my view of myself as a man? Absolutely.

The abuse I received was rarely, if ever, related to me being a boy,

How do you know that? The expectations he had for you had nothing to do with being a boy? Did he give all the same abuse to your sister? He never called you wimp, faggot, queer, etc.?

After listening to a little men's rights talk, there really is a lot of discrimination against men that is entirely approved of by society, and not recognized at all. "It's not because they are boys."

It would be helpful to get beyond the competition over who has it worse, and just be opposed to any and all unfair discrimination. I think the problem are the proposed remedies. They're not opposition to discrimination, but further discrimination claiming to balance the game. Problem is, that requires a comprehensive balancing of all factors in the game, and not just opposition to particular agreed injustices.

Lots of dads get particularly wound up about their daughters sexuality. One of the uglier bits of life.

Being obligated to be a more or less normal boy is something that a lot of boys can manage. It's an abusive requirement when it's something a particular boy can't do or strongly dislikes doing.

A girl can't stop being a girl.

What westward is talking about is a girl being attacked for being a girl. What you're talking about (and it's a quite serious issue) is boys being attacked for not being good enough at being boys.

I'm not denying that there's gender-based abuse of boys. I even know a couple of men who grew up in families that strongly preferred girls.

It took me a lot of years to understand what "misogyny" meant, and I'm usually good at figuring out words from context. My problem with the word was that I'd grown up in a family which valued girls and boys about equally, and I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that there are a lot of people (mostly but not entirely male, I think) who hate women.

I don't this particularly convincing. She likely could have "managed" his oppressive expectations with sufficient obedience and deference as well. And I don't want to be speculating on his situation in the third person. Unless you've discussed these issues personally with him, I think you're jumping to conclusions based on what he said. I get the feeling we've been here before. The previous installment of The LW Women Speak? One limitation I saw last time was the arguing over broad generalizations, particularly over the balance of harm. This tends to look and feel like the minimizing of harm. So to be concrete, I strongly disapprove of a father shrieking "whore" at their daughters, and see great harm to a daughter in it. For a series of videos on the lifelong liability of child abuse, see Stefan Molyneux: []
If there are more failure modes for being female than male, it's worth noting that the target a girl would be trying to hit with expectation management is a lot smaller. If social expectations are for women to be expectation-managers more than men ... possibly related?
I don't think smaller vs. bigger makes sense - basically incommeasurable in terms of size. In terms of being comparable, off the top of my head I'd that that girls are expected to refrain more, while boys are expected to achieve more. It's more stultifying to have to refrain, but in one sense easier, since it is a matter of will and not talent. From the judgment of their parents, girls may be considered rule violators, but they aren't subject to failure as much as boys are.

If I used the same metrics that are used to get the "XX% of women are domestically abused!!!!!" talking points, I myself would be a victim of domestic violence, but I am not.

Reasonable estimates of what percent of women who have been victims of what is normally thought of when the phrase "Domestic Violence" is used, stuff worth doing something about --not being pushed out the way once in your life--, is very small and not more than a few percentage points.


Johnson, M. (1995). "Patriarchal Terrorism and Common Couple Violence: Two Forms of Violence against Women". Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 57, No. 2 (May, 1995), pp. 283-294.

I think that is an overly subjective judgement. I have met people who have experienced what I would consider abuse if it happened to me, but who don't consider it abuse. I just use the "modern" definition which includes physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, and economic abuse. There are extreme forms of all of these types of violence, as well as occasional and mild forms. All of them have negative utility, but I agree there is a significant difference between patriarchal terrorism and a single instance of mild abuse in a lifetime. I also don't think the survey results for rape and attempted rape are related to the CTS surveys in the article you referenced.

I’ve seen at least one LW woman use some men’s stupid analyses of creepiness as exclusion or dislike of low-status or unattractive persons.

I think you're referring to me. You're free to call the analysis stupid if you want, but it was my analysis and my experience, and when I look back the analysis still rings true to me. It was not men's analysis. It was mine.

I just want to say that as a man, I'm horrified by what submitters A & B observed/endured, and I hope they learn some day that most of us guys aren't like that. I was forward in an unintentionally creepy way (probably 1.5-2x as bad as the "attractive college dormmate" story) several years ago. I realized how awful my behavior was, apologized for it, still regret it, and haven't done anything like that since then.

I do attribute reading PUA stuff for my creepiness. Since then, my model has been refined, and I've seen plenty of empirical data... (read more)

I do attribute reading PUA stuff for my creepiness.

One of my friends, who actually studied so much PUA that he briefly became a coach, was very good at not being creepy. The way he did this was being clear about his intentions. Not necessarily explicit: he would still use innuendo etc. The point was, if he was into a woman, he would flirt with her a lot, assuming she was at all warm to the prospect. If not, he was still very friendly, but interacted in a markedly different way.

This meant that women don't have to guess about what he's up to. He recounted a story that took place in our university residence, involving another male friend of ours and a female friend they both knew. We'll call my PUA friend K, the woman F, and the other friend B. So, F was sitting in her room when K pushed her door ajar, saw her, and then went it and sat down on her bed, and said something to the effect of "Hey, what's up?"

F responded warmly, "Oh, man, the weirdest thing just happened... B just came into my room unannounced and started talking to me... it was kinda creepy..."

K paused, and asked with a grin, "You mean, just like I did, just now" and she reflected that yea... (read more)

I wonder whether it's relevant that K comes across as consciously knowing that he's interested, and thus capable of reasoning about what he wants (and how to get it ethically and within social bounds); whereas B is acting on instinct and without awareness, so may suddenly come out with a proposition (or a grope) out of nowhere. If you aren't reasoning about your goals in a social interaction, your goal-directed actions may be rather random and unpredictable, which is bad for your partner.

I think that's part of it too, yeah. B trying to keep all female friends as potential partners, but not actively pursuing any of them, just kind of randomly "going for it".
I'd also like to point out that obviously there are many more ways to be creepy than being ambiguous (e.g. simply being forward in a way that doesn't connect with the other person). This post was merely designed to deconstruct one form of creepiness, linking it (inversely) with PUA.
Oddly, I have exactly this complaint from the other end; I want to condition my actions on whether or not a woman has any interest (show some myself if so, otherwise leave her alone) but can't correctly evaluate the conditional unless it's made explicit, which no one ever does.
I totally know this feeling. Not sure what to do about it except developing the skill of friendly flirting... which I realize is hardly easy. If you do the flirting part right and you're otherwise presentable, then you probably won't appear "creepy" unless you persist far too long.
Maybe what's going on is that women can tell K is very responsive to their signals, and they know that if they started giving him negative feedback, he'd leave them alone in an instant. So they have less to fear. Just a theory, I'm def. not an expert on this stuff.
That's probably part of it. Also, the women don't even have a chance to give B negative feedback, because he never gets to the "like you, like you" stage. Like they're fine being friends with him just awkward about the other stuff, but it's never explicit enough to actually address.

I just want to say that as a man, I'm horrified by what submitters A & B observed/endured, and I hope they learn some day that most of us guys aren't like that.

What evidence do you have that most men are in fact not like that? (Disclaimer: I am also male. Also, thanks for the porn and masturbation links. Seems worth looking more into.)

He didn't even asert that most aren't, he can hope that it is true and she learns it, can't she? However, it does seem fair that that would be the higher prior.

He didn't assert it, he presupposed it.

"I hope that one day you learn that p" doesn't mean "I hope that p is the case and one day you learn it". It presupposes p and asserts "I hope that one day you learn it".

Well, you're presupposing his presupposition there. Regardless, I think demanding evidence for the statement that not all men, for example, are prone to beating or abusing their daughters is a much, much stronger presupposition. I mean, seriously, are we at the point where the prior is greater for 'all x are y' than 'not all x are y' ? Whether or not hg00 has evidence of it, I can personally point to, well, nearly every man I know personally, including myself and my father.
I'm not quite sure what you're talking about. The statement in question - the one that was presupposed [] - is neither of the form 'all x are y' nor 'not all x are y', but of the form 'most x are not y'.
You're right, it does read "most of us are not like that," which I read incorrectly as "not all of us are like that." I still think requesting evidence for that sounds a bit off, but it no longer looks that the presumption of Qiaochu_Yuan in asking for evidence is so unreasonable. I (unoffically) retract my comments and tone. Though I hope everyone, after looking at evidence, does in fact learn what my experience has been, that most men are not like that.
As was pointed elsewhere (I don't remember to whom, so if it was to you, sorry for that), the men you know may be a biased sample.
And as I attempted to clarify above, the preference for my experience not to be a merely sampling effect but indicative of broader population is a part of what the word 'hope' is refering to.
I upvoted this comment for the info on porn and masturbation addiction, which is news to me, but makes sense with my model of the world, and seems to be something I ought to look into. Thanks.

Of the supporters of PUA I've read, they break down into two groups - single men and married women. (Married men don't seem to write about PUA, although given that married women do, presumably there are some who have picked up its ideas and simply don't add to the discussion.)

So apparently a lot of women appreciate being "Gamed" in long-term relationships as well, and appreciate the changes in attitude from guys who switch to it. No idea about the statistics. "Alpha attitudes" preclude jealousy, dependency, and insecurity, all attitu... (read more)

Sometimes they do []. Sometimes this is explicitly mentioned; it's called "inner Game". Absolutely.

Yeah, if we could use these posts to learn about women's experiences instead of constantly doubting everything they say...that would be great.

Doubting that a person is honestly and accurately relating their experiences is one thing, doubting that the generalizations they draw are accurate is another. I upvoted the post, but I think V_V brings some legitimate considerations to the table here.

Women and men tend to have somewhat different experiences in life, and it's useful for them to be exposed to each others' experiences and learn from them. But I don't think we can assume that the generalizations any particular woman draws from her experiences will be accurate, any more than we can assume that the generalizations that a man draws will be accurate. We just take them all for the evidence they're worth.

Doubting that a person is honestly and accurately relating their experiences is one thing

And even that has it's place since people do in fact exaggerated their experience.

No, we take their experiences as fact.

It is not clear, though, why we must automatically take their interpretation of the policy relevance of their experiences as fact.

Well, no.

If someone says "Joe did bad things X, Y, and Z to me because he plays violent video games," we can take it as true that X, Y, and Z actually happened without thereby agreeing that video games have anything to do with it. Being unconvinced of the conclusion (or even rejecting it) does not license us to disregard the evidence of that person's experience.

See also Qiaochu_Yuan's comment here:

General note: let's not do that thing where we don't like an argument someone is presenting and so we fail to update on the evidence they present in favor of it.

Yeah, if we could use these posts to learn about women's experiences instead of constantly doubting everything these they say...that would be great.

I think that this would make women more willing to describe their experiences. I also think on LW learning and engagement often look like doubt and criticism, and that epistemic hygiene is very important.

Unfortunately, the most upvoted comment [] so far is an example of LW's culture of disagreement [].
A comment is supposed to be upvoted for making a relevant contribution. A relevant contribution to the discussion of a statement is more likely to be criticism than it is to be a presentation of further corroboration. So, the most upvoted comments are likely to be critical ones. Mere voicing of agreement will necessarily be perceived as less relevant to the conversation and thus receive fewer upvotes; to change that, the norms about upvoting would have to be changed, so that being nice is considered more valuable than making a relevant contribution. Why is this unfortunate?
It's not clear why a relevant contribution is more likely to be a criticism than further corroboration. There is a point in your comment where you seem to be a conflating two spectrums...agreement/disagreement and thoughtfulness/ simplicity. Just like there is simple dissent (a comment with only the words, "I disagree") and thoughtful criticism (like the linked comment) and there is both "mere voicing of agreement" ("Good post") and thoughtful agreement ( "I agree with this, these are some particularly strong points you make, here's some more supporting evidence"). I find the latter to be very useful. It's unfortunate that thoughtful agreement is not more valued than it is.
I think this kind of thoughtful agreement is valued very highly. But situations where someone has additional evidence they can present to corroborate a poster's point simply have a much lower base rate than situations where someone comes up with a potential criticism. That's because for the first, you have to come up with a potential criticism and produce the evidence to refute it.

Pascal's mugging alert!

False alert. That is not Pascal's Mugging.

The burden of providing evidence is on those who make positive claims.

Probability theory rejects your social rule. It will not play favorites for you for any reason.

I see no evidence for this claim.

Either you are using the word 'evidence' incorrectly or you haven't looked. Consider replacing 'no' with 'insufficient' in order to make your claim plausible.

I’ve seen at least one LW woman use some men’s stupid analyses of creepiness as exclusion or dislike of low-status or unattractive persons.

I think the general theory is that one is perceived as a creep based on a perceived threat. Often these are of physical or sexual assault, but they would also include threats to status caused by a low status male treating you as a potential mate or companion.

This seems consistent with your analysis on creepiness below. You predict his brain mistakenly perceiving you as having the status of a potential mate, which c... (read more)

I think the general theory is that one is perceived as a creep based on a perceived threat.

Speaking solely from my own experience and language usage, I think of creepiness as related to clinginess. A creep is a man who gives the impression of trying to insist on unwanted intimacy (there's some sort of emotional/physical intersection there) and of unwillingness to go away. I believe that "skin crawling" is a common metaphor for the experience of being around someone who is creepy.

I've actually been threatened a couple of times, and I went into a useful emotionally dissociated state. The men involved didn't strike me as creepy.

I'm not denying that there can be some status issues, but they don't offer a universal explanation. There are reports of women who find some high status men creepy, and not all low status men are creepy. If women keep saying "No, low status doesn't explain creepiness", then maybe it's incumbent to at least ask what else they think is going on.

I believe part of the problem is that a good many men don't seem to have had the experience of being creeped out, so they're guessing about possible patterns. Unfortunately, the low status model leaves out the possibility that one reason some men are reliably unattractive is that the men quickly give the impression of being bad emotional matches.

I'm just going to give one personal point of evidence which people can interpret however they want: a large part of my own understanding of "creepiness" comes from the fact that at least for me personally, "skin crawling" is actually just unwanted sexual arousal. (It took me quite a lot of luminosity practise to figure this out.)
That's very interesting. Did you turn up anything else that surprised you? After you found that "skin crawling" was unwanted sexual arousal, did that affect your ideas and/or behavior?
The "skin crawling" sensation you describe is probably the pilomotor reflex [], which can be triggered by various of excited mental states, including fear, aggressivity or sexual arousal. In mammals with a complete fur, this reflex causes the animal to appear bigger and more intimidating. You probably observed it in cats and dogs when they fight or do a threat display.
Also caused by Autonomous sensory meridian response [] which is ironically linked to non-threatening behaviour and altruistic, caring attention. (It can also be linked to deep emotional arousal, such as when listening to engaging music.) Identifying this reflex with "unwanted sexual arousal" is simplistic to the point of being just wrong.
Didn't see this reply as it wasn't directly to one of my posts, but I would like to reassure anyone reading that I can tell the difference between "skin crawling" and "scalp tingling", and no they are not the same thing at all.
Well this is in the context of a long period of introspection on the theme of "When it comes to moral considerations, how much is my system 1 me?" The conclusion is "not very", which is one of the things I changed my mind about fairly recently. (If instinct wants to sleep with someone but reason doesn't, it is preferable for me to not sleep with them. This probably doesn't sound like a surprising conclusion, but I was confused for a long time.) This observation was basically consistent with the way my ideas were developing, since I developed those ideas concurrently to developing luminosity. I'm afraid I can't tell the direction of causation between the two things, or whether there is any.
Actually, I'm not surprised that someone could take a while to figure that out-- there's what I call the romantic fallacy (romantic in the philosophical sense, though it happens to overlap with common usage this time) that people's unthought impulses are sacred. To put it mildly, what (if anything) is sacred about people is a complicated question.
The frequency with which people are given the advise "be yourself" in our society doesn't help.
The conclusion itself is something most people here agree with, but that doesn't mean your reaching it was inevitable. The space of human beliefs is wide. []
I'm glad you mentioned this. I'm male and have experienced this form of creepiness on at least two occasions. That is, someone aiming for unwanted interaction and being unwilling to go away. One was a woman who had gone off her meds and become suddenly convinced I was her partner (my actual partner, standing right there, was not amused). The other was an ugly old woman who was overly insistent on keeping my attention. "Skin crawling" is probably a good way to describe my reaction. But it doesn't happen frequently, and it isn't something that readily comes to mind. This is why I'm glad you mentioned it: I've been unwittingly creepy on occasion without understanding how exactly. Introspection has amounted to literally guessing at possible patterns. Explicitly searching for examples from my own experience at your prompting just triggered a pattern-match. I am now less confused. Thanks. [Edited for clarity]
That's pretty much what I consider to be the essence of creepy. I consider it the threat of a desire for increased intimacy where it isn't wanted - not really insisted upon, because isn't the guy hangs around but won't come to the point even more creepy than the guy who directly asks you out? But others insisted that it had to do with threat of assault, sexual or otherwise. Likely people just have different usages, but I'd think fear, anger, panic would figure much more into that case, besides just revulsion and aversion. Creepy seems much more of an ick factor related to a person who wants to get closer to you. I absolutely agree. I don't think the status issues are universal, they're just one form the threat can take. Much of it is just the natural discomfort of having to deal with rejection. Rejection makes people uncomfortable from either side. Having someone interested and having to reject them is no fun. Part of creepiness is not following through on the "threat" and propositioning, so that the threat is always just hanging out there floating over the creep, and he seems even lower status for his fearfulness and lack of confidence.

I don't get all the criticism of PUAs, submitter B mentions them but doesn't provide any elaborate arguments and I don't think it's fair to compare them to gay converters(gay converters want to change other people PUAs don't, on the contrary they accept woman exactly how they are). In effect PU is understanding how women work and adjusting your behavior to become attractive to them. Could you be more specific in what exactly is wrong with them?

If the sole determining factor of whether an interaction with a women is desirable is whether they end up attracted to you then, yes, even the most extreme sort of pick up artistry would be unproblematic.

However, if you think that there are other factors that determine whether such an interaction is desirable (such as whether the woman is treated with respect, is not made to feel unpleasant etc) then certain sorts of pick up artistry are extremely distasteful.

For example, let's hypothetically imagine that women are more attracted to people who make them feel insecure (I take no position on the accuracy of this claim). Sure, it would just be "understanding how women work and adjusting your behaviour to be more attractive to them" if you deliberately made them feel insecure. And sure, this would be no problem if being attractive was the sole determining factor of whether the interaction was desirable. However, if you think women deserve to be treated with respect and not made to feel horrible (presuming not because they are women but just because all humans deserve this) then this interaction is extremely undesirable.

Some discussions of pick up artistry don't just blur this line but fail to even realise there is a line. To those who think women should be treated with respect, this is extremely concerning.

In general a PUA should always make a woman feel good, otherwise why should she choose to stay with him? Probably women suffer much more through awkward interactions, stalkers, etc... Making a woman feel insecure might work, so does a movie that makes people feel scared(ever enjoyed a good horror movie?). Should we blame a PUA if that works for him? Beautiful women will have an edge when negotiating with a man, should we blame her for using this as a tactic? I've decided to write my own post on the subject, feel free to take a look: []

In general a PUA should always make a woman feel good, otherwise why should she choose to stay with him?

Human mating interests are not aligned perfectly with the happiness goals of the gene carriers in question. (It so happens that creating mostly positive affect in interactions is usually optimal, but this isn't entirely consistent and certainly isn't an inevitable first principle.)

Thanks for a reply. I did take a look at your post but I don't think it really engages with the points that I make (it engages with arguments that are perhaps superficially similar but importantly distinct) I have no problems with certain things that one might describe as pick up artistry. My comments are reserved for the things that don't involve respect for a woman's welfare (demeaning her, for example). And yes, I'm sure people suffer more through stalkers but that doesn't set the bar very high. If you think that people should care about the welfare of others then yes. I think here we have identified the ultimate source of our disagreement. The fact that you think this is even a question worth asking shows that we have substantially different background assumptions (and this perhaps explains why you find attacks on PU confusing). ETA: I realise now that it was unclear whether you were asking whether we should blame a PUA for the movie thing or for deliberately making a woman feel insecure. If the first, no (except perhaps in unusual circumstances) as going to a movie doesn't go against the woman's welfare presuming she, like many people, finds the fear of a horror movie desirable or finds it to be made up for by other aspects of the movie. If the second, then as per above: yes, I think a person should care about the welfare of the person that they're picking up.
That's the issue. Some people have an ideology that some women's tastes are distasteful.
It's a clever line but doesn't really interact with what I said (which may perhaps have been because I was unclear: I don't intend to suggest this fact is your fault). We can think of it another way: what do we think constitutes the welfare of a woman? Presumably we don't think that it is just that she is attracted to the person she is currently conversing with. However, if this is the case and if we care about how our interaction with people effect their welfare then the fact that a person's interaction with a woman makes the woman attracted to them doesn't entail that the interaction was desirable (because we care about their welfare which is more than just their extent of current attraction). Note that this need not be a condescending attempt to institute an objective conception of welfare on an unwilling recipient. For example, we might think that a person's welfare is determined by their own subjective, personally decided upon preferences. Now perhaps a woman has preferences to be attracted to the person they're talking to (or perhaps not) but presumably they also have preferences to feel good about themselves and a number of other things. Again, then, even taking their self-identified welfare, we can't presume that an interaction is benefiting a woman's welfare just because they are attracted to their current conversation partner. To put it another other way: just because a woman finds herself attracted to a person following an interaction, it doesn't mean she doesn't wish that the interaction had been different. So the conversation may fulfill the man's interests in being attractive but it doesn't follow from the fact that the woman is attracted to him that it fulfulls the woman's interests. Of course, if you think a woman's welfare is her own problem and an interested man's only responsibility is to be attractive to the woman then you won't find this compelling but that attitude is precisely what the problem is (many people think that one should be conc
If you are a car salesman and have a button you can legally press which makes your customer buy a car, you'd press it. Instrumental rationality, no? If you are a researcher who has a button he can legally press to make that reviewer look upon his submission more favorably, you'd probably press it. If you are a guy and have a button you can legally press that makes the woman you're trying to woo fall in love with you, pressing that button would be ... bad? I find it extremely condescending to say you're responsible with how a woman you just met feels, it's treating them like a child, not like an adult who can darn well be expected to make her own choices, and turn away from you if she so desires. This of course only applies with the male staying in the legal framework and not exhibiting e.g. stalking behavior (i.e. accept when the woman is turning away). Of course women have a right to demand respect and to be treated in whatever manner they as individuals desire, just as males have a right to provide that sort of interaction or not to provide that sort of interaction. Externally imposing unwritten rules (other than a legal framework) is infantizing adult agents.

If you are a guy and have a button you can legally press that makes the woman you're trying to woo fall in love with you, pressing that button would be ... bad?

The "good - bad" scale is not the same as "legal - illegal" scale, although in nice societies they correlate positively.

Pressing people's buttons to make them act against their long-term interests is bad and legal.

(Where "bad" means approximately: "I wouldn't trust given person to cooperate with me in Prisonners' Dilemma, so I would consider it rational to defect".)

(Where "bad" means approximately: "I wouldn't trust given person to cooperate with me in Prisonners' Dilemma, so I would consider it rational to defect".)

Upvoted for this alone.

Steering a conversation such that the result is in your best interest - but not in the best interest of your conversation partner - is bad, even when both are consenting adults?

If you care about both parties being consenting adults, you'll dislike it if one party tries to undermine the clarity of the other person's consent.

If you are a car salesman and have a button you can legally press which makes your customer buy a car, you'd press it. Instrumental rationality, no?

If you are a researcher who has a button he can legally press to make that reviewer look upon his submission more favorably, you'd probably press it.

No and no. And I think less of those who answer in the affirmative.

It depends on why the customer wouldn't buy the car unless I pressed the button.
Instrumental rationality doesn't get you this far. It gets you this far only if you assume that you care only about selling cars and legality. If you also care about the welfare of others then instrumental rationality will not necessarily tell you to push the button (instrumental rationality isn't the same thing as not caring about others). Of course, I don't expect anyone who doesn't care about the welfare of others to find any of what I'm saying here compelling. A certain level of common ground is required to have a useful discussion. However, I think most people do care about the welfare of others. There is, of course, a line between compassion and condescension and I agree that it is bad to cross that line. However, I think it's unreasonable to think that showing the level of concern that I'm talking about here for someone's welfare is crossing this line. To choose a silly example, it would be undesirable for me to shoot someone for no reason but a selfish desire (I, of course, do not actually have this desire). However, if I didn't shoot someone for some reason, this would be taking some responsibility for the welfare of others. However, this hardly amounts to treating them like a child. Similarly, not deliberately making a woman feel bad about herself is simply showing compassion and being respectful toward others. There's no reason to think this amounts to treating someone like a child. I'm not "imposing" rules, unwritten or otherwise. What I am doing is suggesting that insofar as you care about the welfare of others, it is undesirable that you deliberately make people feel bad about themselves. Having a concern for the welfare of others is hardly infantising adults (consider the gun example again: it is not treating someone as an infant to decide not to kill them on the grounds of their welfare).
I find your comment to be quixotic. I live in a sheltered bubble, but apparently not yet so far up the ivory tower. Whenever you walk into any department store, get a loan to buy a car, a new stereo, or whatever, noone there who's trying to sell to you is going to care whether that purchase is in your self-interest, or whether you can afford it (other than your ability to pay), other than to make you happy so that you become a repeat customer, which also isn't a function of the customer's self interest, just think about tobacco companies. Whether it's the educational sector signing you up for non-dischargeable student loans, car loans, new credit cards offered in the mail, or just buying a PC game, noone will inquire as to your actual self-interest. They'll assume you're an adult and can do what you darn well please - and your self-interest is your business, not theirs. They can pitch you, and if you listen, it's your decision and responsibility. Would you say that the overwhelming majority of modern day society does then not care at all about the welfare of others, just because they allow others to make their own choices, and let them be autonomous regarding their own self-interest? The infantizing part is saying "I don't think women are capable of disengaging from a negative conversation, therefore they ought to be protected since their own agency doesn't suffice. There must be rules protecting them since they apparently cannot be trusted to make their own correct choices."
I don't think further conversation on this topic is going to be useful for either of us. I presume we both accept that we have some responsibilities for the welfare of others and that sometimes we can consider the welfare of others without being infantilising (for example, I presume we both presume that shooting someone for fun would be in violation of these responsibilities). Clearly, you draw the line at a very different place to me but beyond that I'm not sure there's much productive to be said. I will note, however, that my claim is not about doubting the capability of women nor about "protecting" women in some special sense that goes beyond general compassion. It's about respect for the welfare of other people. Other than that, I think this conversation has reached the end of its useful life so will leave things at that.

PUAs don't, on the contrary they accept woman exactly how they are

The problem here is likely that the PUA presumptions concerning what women are like are offensive to some.

PUA stance - "I accept women how they are! Women are attracted to confident, dominant males. You've got to show that you are assertive- even if it means being an asshole and playing on people's insecurities sometimes."...etc

Analogy to racism - "I accept blacks how they are! I don't demand them to do intellectual tasks. I keep plenty of watermelon and fried chicken lying around the house, I do everything I can to make them feel welcome" ... etc

You see the issue here? The thing that offends here is not the fact that PUA's want to adjust behavior to attract women. The thing that offends is that the PUA's conception of what women are like is perceived by some as demeaning. Imagine how you would feel if someone made inaccurate assumptions about you via generalizations from some group you belong to?

I also want to say that even if PUA techniques are instrumentally successful at attracting women (I don't know if this is the case), it isn't necessarily because that the PUA worldview is epistemicall... (read more)

I also want to say that even if PUA techniques are instrumentally successful at attracting women (I don't know if this is the case), it isn't necessarily because that the PUA worldview is epistemically correct. I'm sure anyone who sets out with the explicit goal of attracting women will be more successful at the task than they were prior to setting up that goal.

I once attended a PUA seminar, motivated by pure curiosity and interest in psychology, and there was a lot of emphasis on reading women. The basic approach could be summed up as:

  1. Make yourself feel confident
  2. Approach a woman, using assorted techniques
  3. Determine whether she's interested
  4. If she isn't, leave her alone (there was a lot of emphasis on this point) and move on to someone else as quickly as possible
  5. Repeat until one bites

The techniques don't need to work on the average woman to be successful. The gauge her interest and move on quickly parts filter for those who respond well to them (I would guess also for undesirable personality traits).

As an aside, this is really illustrative of the extent to which deciding to purposefully do something helps you accomplish goals. And assuming that those "assorted techniques" don't contain anything terrible (many of them do, unfortunately), this all seems fine to me.
The first stance is basically accurate for the majority of hetero women. For what percentage of hetero women do you think that's false?
Both genders like confidence equally. Both genders like some amount of social dominance, although both genders seem to value it more in men. I don't know how much of that is just culture. If we're talking sexual dominance/submissiveness, I'd estimate 20% of women prefer submissive men, 50% prefer dominant, and 30% don't care - I'm sure we could get that data if we wanted. That's not the part which is the problem. It's the entailing conclusions about behavior... which I don't like. Also, attempts at artificially puffing up ones social dominance are almost never good.
Of course everyone (like you) want to put down people who claim higher status than you think they really have. What makes one's social dominance "artificial" or genuine? Merely the success of convincing others that you are in fact dominant. So your argument (that artificially high dominance is bad) implies that you only dislike unsuccessful PUAs, the ones who fail to raise their status in your eyes.
...what I meant by that, is the methods that people usually employ when attempting to puff up social dominance (displays of power and authority, disregard for others, etc) are distasteful. That's sort of true, but the order of events is reversed, and we need to unpack "status". If I identify someone using unethical behavior, I dislike them, thereby lowering their social status. To become a "successful" PUA (one that raised his/her status in my eyes) one would need to refrain from behavior I perceive as distasteful. Obviously, this includes refraining from all behaviors that I define as immoral. Unpacking status: Perceptions of "dominance" and perceptions of "liking" are separate. Dominance is decided by power hierarchy within a group - for example, I'll almost always perceive my boss as "dominant", but if she exerts authority unfairly I will see her as dominant and unlikeable, whereas if she is charismatic and helps me achieve my goals I will see her as dominant and likeable.
Don't think so. Men are much more tolerant of limited confidence. Many women will argue that men aren't even attracted to confident women. Similarly, I don't see men interested in women who dominate others. Higher status is good, but dominating others - no. I'm not going to blame men who cater to the preferences of women. Pointless exercise. They should slit their own throats so that women can dump them for men who behave they way they respond to? If you don't approve of what women prefer, take it up with them.
No...women do not like people who are assholes and play on people's insecurities. No healthy person likes that. Social "dominance" is about being charismatic and influential within a group. It's not about over-riding people's preferences. It's not about playing on insecurities. Rather, it's about making people comfortable and helping them to achieve their ends. In the least convenient universe where women did like that, are you really willing to endorse unethical actions in pursuit of mating?
I think that many branches of PUA contain some fairly toxic memes, but I think this claim is only true under a rather narrow and exclusionary definition of "healthy." I've certainly known women who were attracted to men who were assholes and played on others' insecurities. I never became bitter about it, because they weren't women I would have wanted to be attracted to me instead, but I don't think that means it's fair to label them as psychologically unhealthy. Plenty of women also play on others' insecurities to attain social dominance (ex. queen bees. []) Whether this helps make them attractive to men, I couldn't say, but it certainly doesn't seem to prohibit their receiving attraction.
Fair point. I was conceptualizing psychological health as a dichotomous spectrum. It's not about falling over or under the line of psychologically unhealthy - one set of behaviors is simply more healthy than another. Most people have at least a few "unhealthy" behaviors. I know I have one or two.
I was talking about dominating others, women wanting men who do that, and men not being so interested in women who do that. You seem to be using "social dominance" as a synonym for social status. Yes, everyone likes social status. Men get it by dominating others. Women don't. I don't see winning as unethical. I don't see giving women what they respond to as unethical. Some people like S&M. Is a little pain "unethical", if that's what someone responds to?
Roland made a new thread, so as not to derail this one with the PUA stuff. See my comment there, where I make my position on when "dominant" becomes "asshole" more clear, and let me know if you still disagree. []
Social dominance is helping people acheive their ends? I think (by the quotes) you mean "What some call social dominance in regards to womens attraction is actually making them comfortable and helping them achieve their goals." Which is less Orwellian, in terms of the not using the word dominance to mean its opposite, but... still isn't necessarily true. Men who succeed in convincing others to serve the goals those men choose are what we call social dominance, and that this is actually attractive to women is equally reasonable a priori.
Yeah, that's actually a much better way to put it., except that's not just for men. And you can use unethical methods (coercion, violence) to achieve that...but that's not the only way it can be achieved. I guess by appending the word "social" to the word dominance, I took it to mean specifically the "charismatic" sort of dominance, when you get people to follow your interests because they like you or think that you can help them succeed (rather than out of fear of violence or social consequences)
The second part is not a statement about women.
Do you consider accuracy relevant here? Obviously the offense makes sense if the generalization is inaccurate both in general and in specific. What about when it is accurate in general, but wrong in the specific case? Or when it is accurate both in general and in specific? (For some definition of "accurate in general" approximately equal to "accurate for a majority of individual cases", or perhaps a plurality if not a yes/no question.)
To the fact that people are offended? No. They would be offended simply because the words are negative, regardless of accuracy. As for myself, I'm not personally offended ... I think it's a half truth. Yes, dominance might be attractive in some contexts, no, that doesn't mean that being a jerk is generally an effective mating strategy. The racism example is a half-truth too. Blacks do perform worse on cognitive tasks...but there is no evidence that this difference is genetic, and quite a bit of evidence that it's due to socioeconomic and health related factors. If I didn't tell you the second half of it, you might have just implicitly assumed the differences were genetic.
No evidence that it is genetic, whatsoever? Any of it? That's a bold claim. It's certainly great if that's the case!
Having spent a reasonable amount of time looking into the matter in the past, I do feel fairly comfortable in making that claim, unless something new has come out in the past ~4 years.
Given that IQ is over 50% heritable and IQ heritability increases with age, my prior would be that it's largely genetic.
I've decided to write my own post and I address several parts of your comment in it: []

PUAs don't, on the contrary they accept woman exactly how they are

Many anti-gay conservative Christians say the exact same thing. They have an entire rhetorical memeplex devoted to expressing how much God already loves each and every homosexual just as he created them.

The catchphrase is, "Love the sinner, hate the sin."
Quoting myself:
Yeah, I got that part. I'm not convinced.

gay converters want to change other people PUAs don't

What's wrong with wanting to change other people? Heck, this site's stated goal of "raising the sanity waterline" is going to involve changing people.

What exactly are "gay converters" ? The image that instantly comes to mind is some sort of an engine that converts gays to electrical energy, but I know that can't be right...
What Roland may have in mind is people who try to get gay people to become heterosexual. There's frequently a religious component ("pray the gay away") and strong promises that it will work if enough effort is put in. [] []
Ok, I get it, somehow I've never heard this particular term before, but I am aware of the M.O.

I agree, but Viliam_Bur raised that particular hypothetical, so I was curious as to his estimate of its likelihood.

ETA: note that "useful skills for establishing and maintaining long-term relationships" is presumably beside the point, though. That is, if "the Game" makes its practitioners more likely to never have a long-term relationship they will thereby also be made less likely to have a $200,000 divorce.

An experiment with a control group is indeed needed. And yes, it should both evaluate the probability of a divorce per participant, and per married participant. My estimate... well, it would depend on how much of the Game one knew "naturally" before the seminar. It probably wouldn't work for both extremes -- probably even more for the extreme that couldn't ever get married (and therefore divorced) without the training. :D For an average person, I would guess that taking the "red pill" does decrease the probability of a divorce by maybe 5%... but I have nothing to support this guess.
OK, thanks.

LW Women Submissions

a call for anonymous submissions by the women on LW

Seven women submitted

uh... could this be rephrased?

B: I'm not sure what one can draw from the porn-obsessed evangelical. So many things are going wrong all at once! His actions don't seem consistent with his apologetics, so I don't see how you draw that conclusion.

The idea of apologetics definitely exists in society. See the recent Steubenville rape case where a significant portion of people were arguing against it being rape, despite the lack of consent and her being too drunk to respond to anything.

But, you are right that this example doesn't show that. What would demonstrate this is that it is a common thing, not an example of someone who is clearly not neurotypical.


it doesn't follow that it's also teaches useful skills for establishing and maintaining long-term relationships

I'm under the impression that the book The Game itself explicitly laments that PUAs aren't good at that. (OTOH, there's no point in learning how to maintain a relationship if you don't even know how to establish one in the first place, so it can still be useful. Not to avoid divorce, though.)

I've seen Game/PUA blogs that discuss applications of Game to maintaining relationships.
Yes (see OrphanWilde's comment []), but OTOH V_V did say “mostly”.

[META] Why do LWers seem to get their collective panties in a bunch every time gender issues / women are mentioned?

It's the isreal/palestine conflict that everyone can feel involved in. Wherever you live, you're on one side or the other or the other or the other.
What should I understand from the instant negative karma response? That I shouldn't have asked the question, I suppose. If I shouldn't have asked the question, then... I'm supposed to see a new thread in Discussion getting 300 replies in 3 days, remember the same thing happened with the previous threads in the series, and go, "Oh... nothing unusual at all, no special reaction to this topic.". Or, I'm expected to know the answer just like everybody else does, and therefore by asking the question I'm actually expressing an opinion on everybody who commented and I'm not actually looking for an answer. But I am. Getting worked up about this topic could mean a number of things with respect to your attitude towards gender issues, and I don't know the bunch of you well enough to say which is the prevailing explanation. Hence the question. And I suppose now there's an additional question about why it is so taboo to ask this, which I'm also genuinely interested in.

Why do LWers seem to get their collective panties in a bunch every time gender issues / women are mentioned?

Your phrasing implies that people are overreacting and being ridiculous. A more neutral phrasing-- something like "Why are people so angry about gender issues?" or "Why do gender issues get so much attention?"-- probably would have gone over better.


What should I understand from the instant negative karma response?

You seemed to object in another comment to a response which "could've been an explanation, but in the end it turned out to be declaring sides." Well, your question reads like a straightforward declaration of sides. Hence the downvoting. NancyLebovitz is also correct.

That was... unexpected. It never crossed my mind that people could infer anything about my position on gender issues from that question -- and if you asked me now, I couldn't say which is the side that it supposedly belongs on. (Just to hazard a guess, the answer might be "the enemy side", whichever side you're on, but I can't arrive to that answer without assuming bias on the part of downvoters, and I very much hope that LW isn't the crowd to do that to; besides, it would be uncharitable of me. So, I'll wait for the others to inform me.)

I didn't downvote you.

However, if you've read some of the previous discussions on the subject-- the background is the idea that LW defaults to being a sufficiently uncomfortable place for women that women don't stay, and this is a problem.

As a result, asking why are people getting so worked up about the subject looks like saying that the default style at LW is satisfactory, and if women don't like it, that's not important enough to be worth dealing with.

LW Women: LW Online

LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance

Oh. Thanks for the explanation! Of course, needless to say, it wasn't the reason for my bemusement -- for one, it's pretty obvious to everyone who reads the comments that people's concern for how LW is viewed by women isn't the reason why the thread has garnered so many responses. Given what people are saying, the number of comments isn't evidence of their desire to get more women involved in the community, but rather of getting very eager at the opportunity to discuss something as controversial as this. And that's what surprised me -- at least to my noob's eye, LWers didn't come across as the kinds of people who feel strongly about controversial topics; a more detached, analytical stance was more characteristic of the image I had about this site. I suppose I kind of generalized this impression into thinking that, on average, this was also how LWers thought of themselves and of each other. (Projection?) So, ordinarily you don't see people spontaneously bringing up gender issues in normal conversation on this discussion board, but when someone makes it their personal initiative to see what's up with the overwhelming maleness of this forum -- holy mama! 300+ comments. It looked to me like bottling up one's own interest in the matter, like people cared more than they were willing to admit. So I was like, "what the hell, I thought you guys were the dispassionate scientists looking at things objectively, why are you reacting to this like -- like ordinary people?"
Your perception is a product of topic selection. Certain topics are perceived as destabilizing of the community, and thus are downvoted viciously unless they are of unusual quality. Since writing at that level of quality is hard, certain topics get discussed less. What does get discussed is the stuff where most of us are able to take a "more detached, analytical stance."
As I read this, the comment's karma is (0, 50%), so I think the correct answer is "nothing much".
Oh. I asked the question immediately after seeing that the parent comment had gotten -2 within minutes of being posted, so I was expecting the trend to continue. It didn't.

never complain about karma, but ESPECIALLY never try to portray a few downvotes as the view of the forum.

I now strongly agree with the part after the “especially”, especially when “a few” equals 1.
It's a fair question to ask. The downvotes may not be "the view of the forum", whatever that is, but they're certainly the view of the downvoters. If I downvote something, it's because I want to see less of it. If the other party wants to cooperate with this, shouldn't they at least know what I want to see less of?
If they wanted to explain with a comment, they would've. The point of downvotes is to create a system of feedback that is easy to provide and doesn't clutter up the boards with millions of comments saying "Me too!" or "I think your point was written in a demeaning fashion"
Advice given to newbies, from the current intro thread []: So which way is it?
As the one who wrote that, I'm obviously in favor of asking for explanations, but drethelin's point (that the first few upvotes or downvotes are not always the start of a cascade) is important to bear in mind before concluding that LW feels really strongly in general. In addition to random noise, there's the phenomenon that immediate votes are usually from the very active users who are reading Recent Comments, and that those users are often more critical in their voting behavior than the people who only check in sporadically.
I don't read the intro thread or write it. Opinions written by Drethelin do not represent in whole or in part the views of Lesswrong, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Quirinus Quirrel
Alright, so the community is divided on this matter. So then, when you were telling me never to complain about karma, were you advising me on how to optimize for the community's approval, or for your approval?
Some prior discussion [] of this issue. Short summary: The intro thread is a simplification of the community norm about asking for explanation of downvotes. In fact, the particular simplification is very misleading of the fairly complex community norm on this issue (and votes are such a small percentage of readers that any particular post could easily be voted quite differently than the community norm might predict).
Karma as a feedback mechanism allows users' perceptions of whether someone is contributing positively or negatively to take on lasting status associations, in a way that comments do not. Plus, it encourages users to provide feedback more frequently than they would if they had no way of doing so other than leaving comments. Karma would most likely continue to fulfill these purposes even if people leaving downvotes or upvotes always explained themselves on request, as requests are infrequent enough that the possibility of having to explain oneself would probably not be a powerful deterrent to voting.
Because this is a topic on which there are an unusually large number of true things that it isn't socially acceptable to say [].

And possibly a hefty amount of socially unacceptable false things too.

It could've been an explanation, but in the end it turned out to be declaring sides.

I think it's interesting how many "things you [supposedly] can't say" about society are actually very commonly said, throughout mainstream media, religious preaching, popular fiction and nonfiction.

Um, no. The reason it seems this way to you is that when you attempt to think of what the "things you can't say" are, your search space is limited to things you've actually heard.
Source? (Not saying you're wrong, mind.)

There are some good ideas here - really there are - but this simply isn't good enough to be posted directly to Main. If this was a draft, I'd be encouraging and maybe suggest some revisions, but as it is this is exactly as good as you'd expect a first draft from a random sample of LWers to be.

EDIT: which is, of course, why it isn't actually in Main. Not sure how I hallucinated that. My objection is bunk. Upvoted, naturally.

...You realize this isn't in Main, right? And never has been, unless some prankster mod moved it there when I went to sleep, and moved it back when I awoke.
It's been moved to Main.
Actually, it seems to have been moved to Main without showing up on the list of Main posts. I've checked promoted and new on the "text of articles" part of the page, and "recent posts" on the side bar.
Looks like you figured it out [] (posting this for the benefit of future confused readers)
Thanks-- that was a loose end I missed.